Multi-pathway Multi-echo Acquisition and Neural Contrast Translation to Generate a Variety of Quantitative and Qualitative Image Contrasts


PURPOSE: Clinical exams typically involve acquiring many different image contrasts to help discriminate healthy from diseased states. Ideally, 3D quantitative maps of all of the main MR parameters would be obtained for improved tissue characterization. Using data from a 7-min whole-brain multi-pathway multi-echo (MPME) scan, we aimed to synthesize several 3D quantitative maps (T and T ) and qualitative contrasts (MPRAGE, FLAIR, T -weighted, T -weighted, and proton density [PD]-weighted). The ability of MPME acquisitions to capture large amounts of information in a relatively short amount of time suggests it may help reduce the duration of neuro MR exams. METHODS: Eight healthy volunteers were imaged at 3.0T using a 3D isotropic (1.2 mm) MPME sequence. Spin-echo, MPRAGE, and FLAIR scans were performed for training and validation. MPME signals were interpreted through neural networks for predictions of different quantitative and qualitative contrasts. Predictions were compared to reference values at voxel and region-of-interest levels. RESULTS: Mean absolute errors (MAEs) for T and T maps were 216 ms and 11 ms, respectively. In ROIs containing white matter (WM) and thalamus tissues, the mean T /T predicted values were 899/62 ms and 1139/58 ms, consistent with reference values of 850/66 ms and 1126/58 ms, respectively. For qualitative contrasts, signals were normalized to those of WM, and MAEs for MPRAGE, FLAIR, T -weighted, T -weighted, and PD-weighted contrasts were 0.14, 0.15, 0.13, 0.16, and 0.05, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Using an MPME sequence and neural-network contrast translation, whole-brain results were obtained with a variety of quantitative and qualitative contrast in ~6.8 min.
Last updated on 07/13/2020