Diffusion MRI-based cortical complexity alterations associated with executive function in multiple sclerosis

Nils Muhlert, Varun Sethi, Torben Schneider, Pankaj Daga, Lisa Cipolotti, Hamied A. Haroon, Geoff J M Parker, Sebastian Ourselin, Claudia A M Wheeler-Kingshott, David H. Miller, Maria A. Ron, Declan T. Chard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose To report a novel magnetic resonance imaging measure (diffusion orientational complexity [DOC]) in a study of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and healthy controls and to determine patterns of abnormality, correlations with conventional diffusion measures, and associations with cognitive function. Materials and Methods We performed high angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI) and measured DOC, mean diffusivity (MD), and fractional anisotropy (FA) in 51 MS patients and 28 healthy controls. All subjects had a 2-mm isotropic HARDI scan on a 3 T scanner using a 32-channel head receiver coil. DOC, MD, and FA were measured in three regions of interest (ROIs) in frontal cortex linked to executive function, two ROIs in occipital cortex thought unlikely to affect cognition, and in the whole cortex. Results Frontal cortex DOC was significantly decreased in MS patients. DOC correlated mostly with FA but not MD in controls and with MD but not FA in people with MS. In regression models that included all three diffusion-based measures, frontal cortex DOC and frontal cortex FA independently predicted executive function scores. Conclusion DOC is a new useful measure of functionally relevant cortical pathology in MS, providing information that complements conventional diffusion measures. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-63
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


  • cognition
  • diffusion orientational complexity
  • DTI
  • multiple sclerosis


Dive into the research topics of 'Diffusion MRI-based cortical complexity alterations associated with executive function in multiple sclerosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this