Quantitative susceptibility mapping as biomarker of neurodegeneration: methodological models and clinical applications

Fiscone, Cristiana (2024) Quantitative susceptibility mapping as biomarker of neurodegeneration: methodological models and clinical applications, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze biomediche e neuromotorie, 36 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/11250.
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Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping (QSM) is an advanced magnetic resonance technique that can quantify in vivo biomarkers of pathology, such as alteration in iron and myelin concentration. It allows for the comparison of magnetic susceptibility properties within and between different subject groups. In this thesis, QSM acquisition and processing pipeline are discussed, together with clinical and methodological applications of QSM to neurodegeneration. In designing the studies, significant emphasis was placed on results reproducibility and interpretability. The first project focuses on the investigation of cortical regions in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. By examining various histogram susceptibility properties, a pattern of increased iron content was revealed in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis compared to controls and other neurodegenerative disorders. Moreover, there was a correlation between susceptibility and upper motor neuron impairment, particularly in patients experiencing rapid disease progression. Similarly, in the second application, QSM was used to examine cortical and sub-cortical areas in individuals with myotonic dystrophy type 1. The thalamus and brainstem were identified as structures of interest, with relevant correlations with clinical and laboratory data such as neurological evaluation and sleep records. In the third project, a robust pipeline for assessing radiomic susceptibility-based features reliability was implemented within a cohort of patients with multiple sclerosis and healthy controls. Lastly, a deep learning super-resolution model was applied to QSM images of healthy controls. The employed model demonstrated excellent generalization abilities and outperformed traditional up-sampling methods, without requiring a customized re-training. Across the three disorders investigated, it was evident that QSM is capable of distinguishing between patient groups and healthy controls while establishing correlations between imaging measurements and clinical data. These studies lay the foundation for future research, with the ultimate goal of achieving earlier and less invasive diagnoses of neurodegenerative disorders within the context of personalized medicine.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Fiscone, Cristiana
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
MRI, Brain, Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping, Neurodegeneration, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Myotonic Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Radiomics, Super Resolution
Data di discussione
21 Marzo 2024

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