The role of diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging in assessment of normal myelination in infantile brain
Background: Myelination is a dynamic process starting during fetal life and proceeds predominantly after birth in a well-defined, predetermined manner. MR techniques such as diffusion-weighted images and the measurement of the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) have been applied to the study of normal brain development.
Aim of the work: To demonstrate the role of Diffusion Weighted Imaging and ADC maps in assessing normal progression of the infantile brain myelination.
Patients and methods: The present work included 30 infants with normal MRI study of the brain, normal psychomotor development and normal neurological examination. Conventional MRI, DWI and ADC maps were done for all the infants, the average ADC values were calculated in selected areas in white matter.
Results: The age of studied children ranged from 1 month to 3 years, 13 males (43.3%) and 17 females (56.7%). In each of the selected areas of the white matter of the brain, examined ADC showed the highest values at birth and there was a significant decrease with age (p< 0.05).
Conclusion: ADC values decrease with progressive increase of age. Using ADC values is useful in assessment of normal myelination development in the infantile brain and matches the results of conventional MRI.