Fiber tracking by simulating diffusion process with diffusion kernels in human brain with DT-MRI data

Ning Kang, Jun Zhang, Eric S. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


A novel approach for noninvasively tracing brain white matter fiber tracts is presented using diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DT-MRI) data. This technique is based on performing anisotropic diffusion simulations over a series of overlapping three dimensional diffusion kernels that cover only a small portion of the human brain volume and are geometrically centered upon selected starting voxels where a seed is placed. The simulations conducted over diffusion kernels are initiated from those starting voxels and are utilized to construct diffusion fronts. The fiber pathways are determined by evaluating the distance and orientation from fronts to their corresponding diffusion seed voxels. Synthetic and real DT-MRI data are employed to demonstrate the tracking scheme. It is shown that the synthetic tracts can be accurately replicated, while several major white matter fiber pathways in the human brain can be reproduced noninvasively as well. Since the diffusion simulation makes use of the entire diffusion tensor data, including both the magnitude and orientation information, the proposed approach enhances robustness and reliability in DT-MRI based fiber reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Pages (from-to)126-137
Number of pages12
JournalProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
Issue numberI
StatePublished - 2005
EventMedical Imaging 2005 - Physiology, Function, and Structure from Medical Images - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 13 2005Feb 15 2005


  • Anisotropic diffusion simulation
  • Diffusion kernel
  • Diffusion tensor MRI
  • Fiber tractography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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