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Title: Developing advanced MR imaging to assess spinal cord function and tract integrity
Author: Pasin, M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 2441
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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The overall purpose of this thesis is to develop a way to match diffusion and functional acquisition techniques in the spinal cord (SC) in order to offer a comprehensive assessment of factors responsible for functional and structural integrity. I began by optimising a pipeline to acquire and process spinal functional data and I finished by matching the functional information with that derived from diffusion imaging (DI) performed during the same scan session as fM RI. In order to characterize the interactions between local structural connections (derived from DI) and functional activation of the SC it has been necessary to develop an imaging protocol that acquires transverse SC images with both modalities, matching their spatial and geometrical characteristics. This is because transverse cord images possess the relevant anatomical information in terms of grey-white matter structure and allow better localisation of the functional response and structural properties within the spinal cord. My main contribution to the field has been: 1. To demonstrate that it is possible to use the “ZOOM” sequence for spinal fM RI 2. To characterize the signal obtained and the comparison of different image analysis approaches 3. To propose a final pipeline for acquisition and analysis of spinal fM RI 4. To demonstrate that there is a dependency of pathological functional and structural changes The same ZOOM-EPI sequence has been applied for all the functional studies reported in this thesis. The outcome of the optimisation for spinal fMRI has been matched by a DI protocol, using standard DI parameters for spinal microstructural characterization and constitutes the final MR protocol used in a pilot study including a group of healthy controls and a group of patients affected by multiple sclerosis (MS). Based on the gathered experience and results from data acquired and analysed over the years I have concluded with some recommendations for future studies and development strategies for structural and functional MRI of the spinal cord.
Supervisor: Wheeler-Kingshott, C. A. M. ; Toosy, A. T. ; Yiannakas, M. C. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available