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Functional MRI, Diffusion Tensor Imaging, and MR Spectroscopy of the Spinal Cord in Multiple Sclerosis

Olga Ciccarelli, PhD

Imaging the spinal cord in vivo in humans is technically challenging, because the spinal cord is a small structure, with a diameter of approximately 1.5 cm at the cervical level. Physiological processes, such as cardiac pulsation and breathing, can cause motion artifacts. Magnetic susceptibility at tissue/air/bone interfaces may lead to image distortions, which also affect the quality of the images. These challenges are in addition to a lower signal-to-noise ratio due to small voxel dimensions. Therefore, very few studies have applied advanced imaging techniques to the spinal cord of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

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