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In Zeitschrift fur medizinische Physik

INTRODUCTION : Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping (QSM) is generally acquired with full brain coverage, even though many QSM brain-iron studies focus on the deep grey matter (DGM) region only. Reducing the spatial coverage to the DGM vicinity can substantially shorten the scan time or enhance the spatial resolution without increasing scan time; however, this may lead to significant DGM susceptibility underestimation.

METHOD : A recently proposed deep learning-based QSM method, namely xQSM, is investigated to assess the accuracy of dipole inversion on reduced brain coverages. The xQSM method is compared with two conventional dipole inversion methods using simulated and in vivo experiments from 4 healthy subjects at 3T. Pre-processed magnetic field maps are extended symmetrically from the centre of globus pallidus in the coronal plane to simulate QSM acquisitions of difference spatial coverages, ranging from 100% (∼32mm) to 400% (∼128mm) of the actual DGM physical size.

RESULTS : The proposed xQSM network led to the lowest DGM contrast loss in both simulated and in vivo subjects, with the smallest susceptibility variation range across all spatial coverages. For the digital brain phantom simulation, xQSM improved the DGM susceptibility underestimation more than 20% in small spatial coverages, as compared to conventional methods. For the in vivo acquisition, less than 5% DGM susceptibility error was achieved in 48mm axial slabs using the xQSM network, while a minimum of 112mm coverage was required for conventional methods. It is also shown that the background field removal process performed worse in reduced brain coverages, which further deteriorated the subsequent dipole inversion.

CONCLUSION : The recently proposed deep learning-based xQSM method significantly improves the accuracy of DGM QSM from small spatial coverages as compared with conventional QSM algorithms, which can shorten DGM QSM acquisition time substantially.

Zhu Xuanyu, Gao Yang, Liu Feng, Crozier Stuart, Sun Hongfu


Deep grey matter, Deep learning, Quantitative susceptibility mapping, Reduced spatial coverage, xQSM