Impact of DTI smoothing on the study of brain aging.

Varsha Viswanath, Evan Fletcher, Baljeet Singh, Noel Smith, Debashis Paul, Jie Peng, Jun Chen, Owen Carmichael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DTI), a method for measuring the integrity of axon fiber tracts in the brain, plays an important role in clarifying brain changes that accompany aging and aging-associated neurodegenerative disease. While DTI smoothing methods theoretically have the potential to enhance such studies by reducing noise, it is unclear whether DTI smoothing has any practical impact on computed associations between fiber tract integrity and scientific variables of interest. Therefore we smoothed DTI images from 154 older adults using three kernel smoothing methods hypothesized to have differing strengths (the affine and log-Euclidean smoothers were hypothesized to enhance highly organized tracts better than the Euclidean smoother). Smoothing increased the strengths of expected associations between DTI and age, cognitive function, and the diagnosis of dementia. However, no particular smoothing method was uniformly superior in strengthening these associations. This data suggests that DTI smoothing enhances the sensitivity of studies of brain aging, but further research is needed to determine which smoothing technique is optimal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-97
Number of pages4
JournalConference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Signal Processing
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Health Informatics


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