An image-based finite difference model for simulating restricted diffusion

Scott N. Hwang, Chih Liang Chin, Felix W. Wehrli, David B. Hackney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Water diffusion in tissues is generally restricted and often anisotropic. Neural tissue is of particular interest, since it is well known that injury alters diffusion in a characteristic manner. Both Monte Carlo simulations and approximate analytical models have previously been reported in attempts to predict water diffusion behavior in the central nervous system. These methods have relied on axonal models, which assume simple geometries (e.g., ellipsoids, cylinders, and square prisms) and ignore the thickness of the myelin sheath. The current work describes a method for generating models using synthetic images. The computations are based on a 3D finite difference (FD) approximation of the diffusion equation. The method was validated with known analytic solutions for diffusion in a cylindrical pore and in a hexagonal array of cylinders. Therefore, it is envisioned that, by exploiting histologic images of neuronal tissues as input model, current method allows investigating the water diffusion behavior inside biological tissues and potentially assessing the status of neural injury and regeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-382
Number of pages10
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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