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Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
One Children's Hospital Drive
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224

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NDRD Neuroimaging Studies

DTI as a Tool to Detect Neurodegenerative Disease

With the support of the NIH (NIH R01NS061965) we have developed a method to use information from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to quantify neurological damage in the brain. Using data from over 600 patient MRI scans we have created a methodology to measure the amount of disease progression in the brain over time.

Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan that can produce three-dimensional images of the brain. DTI is a safe noninvasive test that does not require the use of contrast agents or chemical tracers. The purpose of this research study is to better understand early brain development in children with neurodegenerative disease. This technique can provide information about a child's potential learning and motor development and help us predict outcomes after treatment.

Other MRI Studies

The NDRD team includes world class neuroradiologists who, since our arrival at Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh, have made these neurodegenerative diseases a focus of their work. Drs. Giulio Zuccoli and Ashok Panigrahy have used the images collected as part of our research database to develop new methods of detecting brain damage in Krabbe disease and study the thickening of the cuada equine roots and its relationship to peripheral nerve disease.


DTI registration in atlas based fiber analysis of infantile Krabbe disease. Wang, Y., Gupta, A., Liu, Z., Zhang, H., Escolar, M. L., Gilmore, J. H., et al. (2011). Neuroimage, 55(4), 1577-1586.

Regional differences in fiber tractography predict neurodevelopmental outcomes in neonates with infantile Krabbe disease Gupta A, Poe MD, Styner MA, Panigrahy a, Escolar ML. Neuroimage Clin. 2014 Sep 26;7:792-8

Diffusion tensor imaging detects abnormalities in the corticospinal tracts of neonates with infantile Krabbe disease. Escolar, M. L., Poe, M. D., Smith, J. K., Gilmore, J. H., Kurtzberg, J., Lin, W., et al. (2009). AJNR Am J Neuroradiol, 30(5), 1017-1021.

Thickening of the Cauda Equina Roots: a Common Finding in Krabbe Disease Zuccoli G, Narayanan S, Panigrahy A, Poe MD, Escolar ML. Eur Radiol. 2016 May 2:1-6

Midbrain morphology reflects extent of brain damage in Krabbe disease Zuccoli G, Narayanan S, Panigrahy A, Poe MD, Escolar ML. Neuroradiology, 2015 Jul;57(7):739-45