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Multicenter stability of diffusion tensor imaging measures: a European clinical and physical phantom study


Teipel, Stefan J., Reuter, Sigrid, Stieltjes, Bram, Acosta-Cabronero, Julio, Ernemann, Ulrike, Fellgiebel, Andreas, Filippi, Massimo, Frisoni, Giovanni, Hentschel, Frank, Jessen, Frank, Klöppel, Stefan, Meindl, Thomas, Pouwels, Petra J.W., Hauenstein, Karl-Heinz, Hampel, Harald


Psychiatry Research, Volume: 194, No.: 3, Pages.: 363-371

Year of Publication



Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) detects white matter damage in neuro-psychiatric disorders, but data on reliability of DTI measures across more than two scanners are still missing. In this study we assessed multicenter reproducibility of DTI acquisitions based on a physical phantom as well as brain scans across 16 scanners. In addition, we performed DTI scans in a group of 26 patients with clinically probable Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and 12 healthy elderly controls at one single center. We determined the variability of fractional anisotropy (FA) measures using manually placed regions of interest as well as automated tract based spatial statistics and deformation based analysis. The coefficient of variation (CV) of FA was 6.9% for the physical phantom data. The mean CV across the multicenter brain scans was 14% for tract based statistics, and 29% for deformation based analysis. The degree of variation was higher in less organized fiber tracts. Our findings suggest that a clinical and physical phantom study involving more than two scanners is indispensable to detect potential sources of bias and to reliably estimate effect size in multicenter diagnostic trials using DTI.; 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Bibtex Citation

@article{Teipel_2011, doi = {10.1016/j.pscychresns.2011.05.012}, url = {}, year = 2011, month = {dec}, publisher = {Elsevier {BV}}, volume = {194}, number = {3}, pages = {363--371}, author = {Stefan J. Teipel and Sigrid Reuter and Bram Stieltjes and Julio Acosta-Cabronero and Ulrike Ernemann and Andreas Fellgiebel and Massimo Filippi and Giovanni Frisoni and Frank Hentschel and Frank Jessen and Stefan Klöppel and Thomas Meindl and Petra J.W. Pouwels and Karl-Heinz Hauenstein and Harald Hampel}, title = {Multicenter stability of diffusion tensor imaging measures: A European clinical and physical phantom study}, journal = {Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging} }


aged, aged, 80 and over, alzheimer disease, anisotropy, bias epidemiology, brain, brain mapping, diagnosis, diffusion tensor imaging, europe, female, humans, methods, middle aged, nerve fibers myelinated, pathology, phantoms imaging, young adult

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Alzheimer’s Disease

Types of Study

Cohort Study

Type of Outcomes


Type of Interventions

Diagnostic Target Identification

Diagnostic Targets

Neuroimaging (e.g. MRI, PET, CAT etc.)