7 Scopus citations


Quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) is an MRI-based, computational method for anatomically localizing and measuring concentrations of specific biomarkers in tissue such as iron. Growing research suggests QSM is a viable method for evaluating the impact of iron overload in neurological disorders and on cognitive performance in aging. Several software toolboxes are currently available to reconstruct QSM maps from 3D GRE MR Images. However, few if any software packages currently exist that offer fully automated pipelines for QSM-based data analyses: from DICOM images to region-of-interest (ROI) based QSM values. Even less QSM-based software exist that offer quality control measures for evaluating the QSM output. Here, we address these gaps in the field by introducing and demonstrating the reliability and external validity of Ironsmith; an open-source, fully automated pipeline for creating and processing QSM maps, extracting QSM values from subcortical and cortical brain regions (89 ROIs) and evaluating the quality of QSM data using SNR measures and assessment of outlier regions on phase images. Ironsmith also features automatic filtering of QSM outlier values and precise CSF-only QSM reference masks that minimize partial volume effects. Testing of Ironsmith revealed excellent intra- and inter-rater reliability. Finally, external validity of Ironsmith was demonstrated via an anatomically selective relationship between motor performance and Ironsmith-derived QSM values in motor cortex. In sum, Ironsmith provides a freely-available, reliable, turn-key pipeline for QSM-based data analyses to support research on the impact of brain iron in aging and neurodegenerative disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118835
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Aging
  • Automated pipeline
  • Brain iron
  • Quantitative susceptibility mapping
  • Software

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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