New MRI technique tracks infant brain development

September 1, 2006

Diffusion-tensor and fiber tract reconstruction MR imaging can detect white matter abnormalities that affect children's cognitive skills.

Diffusion-tensor and fiber tract reconstruction MR imaging can detect white matter abnormalities that affect children's cognitive skills. University of Texas researchers say the new tool could help monitor brain development in infants.

Behroze Vachha, Ph.D., and colleagues assessed 13 patients ages six months to 16 years with myelomeningocele and Chiari II malformation who underwent DTI and fiber tract reconstruction. The researchers looked for limbic tract anomalies and their correlation with learning and memory deficiencies in these patients. Using this technique, the investigators confirmed fiber abnormalities in the limbic system of 11 patients with these conditions. They also found a significant association between fornix or cingulum abnormalities and memory and learning problems in these patients.

The researchers published their findings in the July issue of Radiology.