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Full Day ED: MR Diffusion Imaging: From the Basics to Advanced Applications

Diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) is a non-invasive MRI technique that is sensitive to the micro-structure and the structural connectivity of the brain. Recent technological advancements in commercially available MR scanners has enabled a large number of neuroscientists and clinicians to acquire advanced diffusion-weighted data of very high quality but has made also this a very fast evolving field of neuroimaging. To fully exploit all the opportunities given by these new technologies it is therefore essential to fully understand what are the main strategies to acquire, process and analyse diffusion imaging data. By following an ideal diffusion imaging pipeline, all lectures will review the current state of the art of diffusion imaging methods and the possible pitfalls and limitations that need to be taken into account before getting to the final results. Examples will be provided on how advanced analysis methods benefit from the technological advancements in data acquisition and how these analysis methods help to address relevant clinical and scientific questions ranging from brain plasticity, development, brain disorders or neurodegeneration. The course will also present techniques for investigating the microstructure properties in white and gray matter tissue within and across brains. At a systems level, the course will demonstrate techniques for diffusion-based connectomics analyses and parcellations of the human cortex. Finally, the course will try to link structural connectivity with functional MRI and quantitative MRI. Each technique will be presented by practical examples and dedicated time will be allocated for discussion with the audience.