Supplementary Material for: Combined Diffusion Tensor and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging Methodology for Automated Regional Brain Analysis: Application in a Normal Pediatric Population

During human brain development, anatomic regions mature at different rates. Quantitative anatomy-specific analysis of longitudinal diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) data may improve our ability to quantify and categorize these maturational changes. Computational tools designed to quickly fuse and analyze imaging information from multiple, technically different datasets would facilitate research on changes during normal brain maturation and for comparison to disease states. In the current study, we developed a complete battery of computational tools to execute such data analyses that include data preprocessing, tract-based statistical analysis from DTI data, automated brain anatomy parsing from T1-weighted MR images, assignment of metabolite information from MRSI data, and co-alignment of these multimodality data streams for reporting of region-specific indices. We present statistical analyses of regional DTI and MRSI data in a cohort of normal pediatric subjects (<i>n</i> = 72; age range: 5-18 years; mean 12.7 ± 3.3 years) to establish normative data and evaluate maturational trends. Several regions showed significant maturational changes for several DTI parameters and MRSI ratios, but the percent change over the age range tended to be small. In the subcortical region (combined basal ganglia [BG], thalami [TH], and corpus callosum [CC]), the largest combined percent change was a 10% increase in fractional anisotropy (FA) primarily due to increases in the BG (12.7%) and TH (9%). The largest significant percent increase in N-acetylaspartate (NAA)/creatine (Cr) ratio was seen in the brain stem (BS) (18.8%) followed by the subcortical regions in the BG (11.9%), CC (8.9%), and TH (6.0%). We found consistent, significant (<i>p</i> < 0.01), but weakly positive correlations (<i>r</i> = 0.228-0.329) between NAA/Cr ratios and mean FA in the BS, BG, and CC regions. Age- and region-specific normative MR diffusion and spectroscopic metabolite ranges show brain maturation changes and are requisite for detecting abnormalities in an injured or diseased population.