Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Imaging


Most surviving biblical period Hebrew inscriptions are ostraca-ink-on-clay texts. They are poorly preserved and once unearthed, fade rapidly. Therefore, proper and timely documentation of ostraca is essential. Here we show a striking example of a hitherto invisible text on the back side of an ostracon revealed via multispectral imaging. This ostracon, found at the desert fortress of Arad and dated to ca. 600 BCE (the eve of Judah’s destruction by Nebuchadnezzar), has been on display for half a century. Its front side has been thoroughly studied, while its back side was considered blank. Our research revealed three lines of text on the supposedly blank side and four “new” lines on the front side. Our results demonstrate the need for multispectral image acquisition for both sides of all ancient ink ostraca. Moreover, in certain cases we recommend employing multispectral techniques for screening newly unearthed ceramic potsherds prior to disposal.

Concepts: Imaging, Multi-spectral image


Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) studies are increasingly popular among clinicians and researchers as they provide unique insights into brain network connectivity. However, in order to optimize the use of DTI, several technical and methodological aspects must be factored in. These include decisions on: acquisition protocol, artifact handling, data quality control, reconstruction algorithm, and visualization approaches, and quantitative analysis methodology. Furthermore, the researcher and/or clinician also needs to take into account and decide on the most suited software tool(s) for each stage of the DTI analysis pipeline. Herein, we provide a straightforward hitchhiker’s guide, covering all of the workflow’s major stages. Ultimately, this guide will help newcomers navigate the most critical roadblocks in the analysis and further encourage the use of DTI.

Concepts: Scientific method, Medical imaging, Magnetic resonance imaging, Research, Management, Imaging, Tensors, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy


BACKGROUND: Although diffusion tensor imaging has been a major research focus for Alzheimer’s disease in recent years, it remains unclear whether it has sufficient stability to have biomarker potential. To date, frequently inconsistent results have been reported, though lack of standardisation in acquisition and analysis make such discrepancies difficult to interpret. There is also, at present, little knowledge of how the biometric properties of diffusion tensor imaging might evolve in the course of Alzheimer’s disease. METHODS: The biomarker question was addressed in this study by adopting a standardised protocol both for the whole brain (tract-based spatial statistics), and for a region of interest: the midline corpus callosum. In order to study the evolution of tensor changes, cross-sectional data from very mild (N = 21) and mild (N = 22) Alzheimer’s disease patients were examined as well as a longitudinal cohort (N = 16) that had been rescanned at 12 months. FINDINGS AND SIGNIFICANCE: The results revealed that increased axial and mean diffusivity are the first abnormalities to occur and that the first region to develop such significant differences was mesial parietal/splenial white matter; these metrics, however, remained relatively static with advancing disease indicating they are suitable as ‘state-specific’ markers. In contrast, increased radial diffusivity, and therefore decreased fractional anisotropy-though less detectable early-became increasingly abnormal with disease progression, and, in the splenium of the corpus callosum, correlated significantly with dementia severity; these metrics therefore appear ‘stage-specific’ and would be ideal for monitoring disease progression. In addition, the cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses showed that the progressive abnormalities in radial diffusivity and fractional anisotropy always occurred in areas that had first shown an increase in axial and mean diffusivity. Given that the former two metrics correlate with dementia severity, but the latter two did not, it would appear that increased axial diffusivity represents an upstream event that precedes neuronal loss.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Neuron, Medical imaging, Neuroimaging, Dementia, Diffusion MRI, Corpus callosum, Imaging


Hair-pulling disorder (trichotillomania, HPD) is a disabling condition that is characterized by repetitive hair-pulling resulting in hair loss. Although there is evidence of structural grey matter abnormalities in HPD, there is a paucity of data on white matter integrity. The aim of this study was to explore white matter integrity using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in subjects with HPD and healthy controls. Sixteen adult female subjects with HPD and 13 healthy female controls underwent DTI. Hair-pulling symptom severity, anxiety and depressive symptoms were also assessed. Tract-based spatial statistics were used to analyze data on fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity (RD). There were no differences in DTI measures between HPD subjects and healthy controls. However, there were significant associations of increased MD in white matter tracts of the fronto-striatal-thalamic pathway with longer HPD duration and increased HPD severity. Our findings suggest that white matter integrity in fronto-striatal-thalamic pathways in HPD is related to symptom duration and severity. The molecular basis of measures of white matter integrity in HPD deserves further exploration.

Concepts: Anxiety, Statistics, Symptoms, Symptom, White matter, Diffusion MRI, Imaging, Tensors


Multispectral imaging is a powerful tool that extends the capabilities of the human eye. However, multispectral imaging systems generally are expensive and bulky, and multiple exposures are needed. Here, we report the demonstration of a compact multispectral imaging system that uses vertical silicon nanowires to realize a filter array. Multiple filter functions covering visible to near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths are simultaneously defined in a single lithography step using a single material (silicon). Nanowires are then etched and embedded into polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), thereby realizing a device with eight filter functions. By attaching it to a monochrome silicon image sensor, we successfully realize an all-silicon multispectral imaging system. We demonstrate visible and NIR imaging. We show that the latter is highly sensitive to vegetation and furthermore enables imaging through objects opaque to the eye.

Concepts: Eye, Demonstration, Image sensor, Imaging, Visible spectrum, Human eye, Eye color, Multi-spectral image


Diffusion Kurtosis Imaging (DKI) is a diffusion-weighted technique which overcomes limitations of the commonly used diffusion tensor imaging approach. This technique models non-Gaussian behaviour of water diffusion by the diffusion kurtosis tensor (KT), which can be used to provide indices of tissue heterogeneity and a better characterisation of the spatial architecture of tissue microstructure. In this study, the geometry of the KT is elucidated using synthetic data generated from multi-compartmental models, where diffusion heterogeneity between intra and extra-cellular media are taken into account, as well as the sensitivity of the results to each model parameter and to synthetic noise. Furthermore, based on the assumption that maxima of the KT are distributed perpendicularly to the direction of well aligned fibres, a novel algorithm for estimating fibre direction directly from the KT is proposed and compared to the fibre directions extracted from DKI based orientation distribution function (ODF) estimates previously proposed in the literature. Synthetic data results showed that, for fibres crossing at high intersection angles, direction estimates extracted directly from the KT have smaller errors than the DKI based ODF estimation approaches (DKI-ODF). Nevertheless, the proposed method showed smaller angular resolution and lower stability to changes of the simulation parameters. On real data, tractography performed on these KT fibre estimates suggests a higher sensitivity than the DKI based ODF in resolving lateral corpus callosum fibres reaching the pre-central cortex when diffusion acquisition is performed with five b-values. Using faster acquisition schemes, KT based tractography did not show improved performance over the DKI-ODF procedures. Nevertheless, it is shown that direct KT fibres estimates are more adequate for computing a generalized version of radial kurtosis maps.

Concepts: Magnetic resonance imaging, Corpus callosum, Fiber, Parameter, Imaging, Tensors, Synthetic fiber, Fibers


Immunotherapies include various approaches, ranging from stimulating effector mechanisms to counteracting inhibitory and suppressive mechanisms, and creating a forum for discussing the most effective means of advancing these therapies through imaging is the focus of the newly formed Imaging in Cellular and Immune Therapies (ICIT) interest group within the World Molecular Imaging Society. Efforts are being made in the identification and validation of predictive biomarkers for a number of immunotherapies. Without predictive biomarkers, a considerable number of patients may receive treatments that have no chance of offering a benefit. This will reflect poorly on the field of immunotherapy and will yield false hopes in patients while at the same time contributing to significant cost to the healthcare system. This review summarizes the main strategies in cancer immune and cell-based therapies and discusses recent advances in imaging strategies aimed to improve cancer immunotherapy outcomes.

Concepts: Immune system, Medicine, Focus, Imaging, Immunotherapy, Cancer immunotherapy, Molecular imaging


The use of cannabis with higher ��9-tetrahydrocannabinol content has been associated with greater risk, and earlier onset, of psychosis. However, the effect of cannabis potency on brain morphology has never been explored. Here, we investigated whether cannabis potency and pattern of use are associated with changes in corpus callosum (CC) microstructural organization, in patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP) and individuals without psychosis, cannabis users and non-users. Method The CC of 56 FEP (37 cannabis users) and 43 individuals without psychosis (22 cannabis users) was virtually dissected and segmented using diffusion tensor imaging tractography. The diffusion index of fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity was calculated for each segment.

Concepts: Neuroimaging, Magnetic resonance imaging, Cerebrum, Diffusion MRI, Corpus callosum, Imaging, Agenesis of the corpus callosum, Tensors


Human brain maturation is characterized by the prolonged development of structural and functional properties of large-scale networks that extends into adulthood. However, it is not clearly understood which features change and which remain stable over time. Here, we examined structural connectivity based on diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in 121 participants between 4 and 40 years of age. DTI data were analyzed for small-world parameters, modularity, and the number of fiber tracts at the level of streamlines. First, our findings showed that the number of fiber tracts, small-world topology, and modular organization remained largely stable despite a substantial overall decrease in the number of streamlines with age. Second, this decrease mainly affected fiber tracts that had a large number of streamlines, were short, within modules and within hemispheres; such connections were affected significantly more often than would be expected given their number of occurrences in the network. Third, streamline loss occurred earlier in females than in males. In summary, our findings suggest that core properties of structural brain connectivity, such as the small-world and modular organization, remain stable during brain maturation by focusing streamline loss to specific types of fiber tracts.

Concepts: Nervous system, Male, Female, Developmental biology, Human brain, Magnetic resonance imaging, Imaging, Tensors


Macroscale multimodal chemical imaging combining hyperspectral diffuse reflectance (400-2500 nm), luminescence (400-1000 nm), and X-ray fluorescence (XRF, 2 to 25 keV) data, is uniquely equipped for noninvasive characterization of heterogeneous complex systems such as paintings. Here we present the first application of multimodal chemical imaging to analyze the production technology of an 1,800-year-old painting and one of the oldest surviving encaustic (“burned in”) paintings in the world. Co-registration of the data cubes from these three hyperspectral imaging modalities enabled the comparison of reflectance, luminescence, and XRF spectra at each pixel in the image for the entire painting. By comparing the molecular and elemental spectral signatures at each pixel, this fusion of the data allowed for a more thorough identification and mapping of the painting’s constituent organic and inorganic materials, revealing key information on the selection of raw materials, production sequence and the fashion aesthetics and chemical arts practiced in Egypt in the second century AD.

Concepts: Fluorescence, X-ray fluorescence, Physics, Materials science, Material, Imaging, Cathodoluminescence, Painting