Regional distribution of measurement error in diffusion tensor imaging

Stefano Marenco, Robert Rawlings, Gustavo K. Rohde, Alan S. Barnett, Robyn A. Honea, Carlo Pierpaoli, Daniel R. Weinberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The characterization of measurement error is critical in assessing the significance of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) findings in longitudinal and cohort studies of psychiatric disorders. We studied 20 healthy volunteers, each one scanned twice (average interval between scans of 51 ± 46.8 days) with a single shot echo planar DTI technique. Intersession variability for fractional anisotropy (FA) and Trace (D) was represented as absolute variation (standard deviation within subjects: SDw), percent coefficient of variation (CV) and intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC). The values from the two sessions were compared for statistical significance with repeated measures analysis of variance or a non-parametric equivalent of a paired t-test. The results showed good reproducibility for both FA and Trace (CVs below 10% and ICCs at or above 0.70 in most regions of interest) and evidence of systematic global changes in Trace between scans. The regional distribution of reproducibility described here has implications for the interpretation of regional findings and for rigorous pre-processing. The regional distribution of reproducibility measures was different for SDw, CV and ICC. Each one of these measures reveals complementary information that needs to be taken into consideration when performing statistical operations on groups of DT images.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-78
Number of pages10
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 30 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Fractional anisotropy
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Mean diffusivity
  • Reproducibility
  • Statistical analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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