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Keywords:

  • diffusion-weighted MRI;
  • probability density functions

Abstract

A fully probabilistic framework is presented for estimating local probability density functions on parameters of interest in a model of diffusion. This technique is applied to the estimation of parameters in the diffusion tensor model, and also to a simple partial volume model of diffusion. In both cases the parameters of interest include parameters defining local fiber direction. A technique is then presented for using these density functions to estimate global connectivity (i.e., the probability of the existence of a connection through the data field, between any two distant points), allowing for the quantification of belief in tractography results. This technique is then applied to the estimation of the cortical connectivity of the human thalamus. The resulting connectivity distributions correspond well with predictions from invasive tracer methods in nonhuman primate. Magn Reson Med 50:1077–1088, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.