Bayesian uncertainty quantification in linear models for diffusion MRI

by   Jens Sjölund, et al.

Diffusion MRI (dMRI) is a valuable tool in the assessment of tissue microstructure. By fitting a model to the dMRI signal it is possible to derive various quantitative features and to perform white matter tractography. Several of the most popular dMRI signal models are expansions in an appropriately chosen basis, where the coefficients are determined using some variation of least-squares. However, such approaches lack any notion of uncertainty, which could be valuable in e.g. group analyses or tractography. In this work, we use a probabilistic interpretation of linear least-squares methods to recast popular dMRI models as Bayesian ones. This makes it possible to quantify the uncertainty of any derived quantity. In particular, for quantities that are affine functions of the coefficients, the posterior distribution can be expressed in closed-form. We simulated measurements from single- and double-tensor models where the correct values of several quantities are known, to validate that the theoretically derived quantiles agree with those observed empirically. The validation employed several different models: Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), Mean Apparent Propagator MRI (MAP-MRI) and Constrained Spherical Deconvolution (CSD). We also used data from the Human Connectome Project to demonstrate the uncertainty quantification in vivo. In summary, we convert successful linear models for dMRI signal estimation to probabilistic models, capable of accurate uncertainty quantification.


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