A multi-center study: Intra-scan and inter-scan variability of Diffusion Spectrum Imaging
The objective of this study was to investigate whether it is possible to pool together diffusion spectrum imaging data from four different scanners, located at three different sites. Two of the scanners had identical configuration whereas two did not. To measure the variability, we extracted three scalar maps (ADC, FA and GFA) from the DSI and utilized a region and a tract-based analysis. Additionally, a phantom study was performed to rule out some potential factors arising from the scanner performance in case some systematic bias occurred in the subject study. This work was split into three experiments: intra-scanner reproducibility, reproducibility with twin-scanner settings and reproducibility with other configurations. Overall for the intra-scanner and twin-scanner experiments, the region-based analysis coefficient of variation (CV) was in a range of 1%-4.2% and below 3% for almost every bundle for the tract-based analysis. The uncinate fasciculus showed the worst reproducibility, especially for FA and GFA values (CV 3.7-6%). For the GFA and FA maps, an ICC value of 0.7 and above is observed in almost all the regions/tracts. Looking at the last experiment, it was found that there is a very high similarity of the outcomes from the two scanners with identical setting. However, this was not the case for the two other imagers. Given the fact that the overall variation in our study is low for the imagers with identical settings, our findings support the feasibility of cross-site pooling of DSI data from identical scanners. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.