On the down-sampling of diffusion MRI data along the angular dimension

Nan kuei Chen, Ryan P. Bell, Christina S. Meade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: It has been established that the diffusion gradient directions in diffusion MRI should be uniformly distributed in 3D spherical space, so that orientation-dependent diffusion properties (e.g., fractional anisotropy or FA) can be properly quantified. Sometimes the acquired data need to be down-sampled along the angular dimension before computing diffusion properties (e.g., to exclude data points corrupted by motion artifact; to harmonize data obtained with different protocols). It is important to quantitatively assess the impact of data down-sampling on measurement of diffusion properties. Materials and methods: Here we report 1) a numerical procedure for down-sampling diffusion MRI (e.g., for data harmonization), and 2) a spatial uniformity index of diffusion directions, aiming to predict the quality of the chosen down-sampling schemes (e.g., from data harmonization; or rejection of motion corrupted data points). We quantitatively evaluated human diffusion MRI data, which were down-sampled from 64 or 60 diffusion gradient directions to 30 directions, in terms of their 1) FA value accuracy (using fully-sampled data as the ground truth), 2) FA fitting residuals, and 3) spatial uniformity indices. Results: Our experimental data show that the proposed spatial uniformity index is correlated with errors in FA obtained from down-sampled diffusion MRI data. The FA fitting residuals that are typically used to assess diffusion MRI quality are not correlated with either FA errors or spatial uniformity index. Conclusions: These results suggest that the spatial uniformity index could be more valuable in assessing quality of down-sampled diffusion MRI data, as compared with FA fitting residual measures. We expect that our implemented software procedure should prove valuable for 1) guiding data harmonization for multi-site diffusion MRI studies, and 2) assessing the impact of rejecting motion corrupted data points on the accuracy of diffusion measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-110
Number of pages7
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Data harmonization
  • Diffusion MRI
  • Down-sampling
  • Spatial uniformity index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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