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Quantifying development : using T₂ relaxation to investigate myelination of the corpus callosum in preadolescents Whitaker, Kirstie Jane


This thesis describes a novel voxel‐based analysis of the transverse (T₂) relaxation decay curve to quantify myelin water fraction (MWF). Multi‐echo T₂ relaxation decay data was acquired for 5 preadolescent males (age range 9 – 12 years). A novel signal to noise filter appropriate for multi‐exponential T₂ analysis was then applied to remove voxels which did not accurately fit the modelled curve. The remaining voxels were designated “highly myelinated” if their MWF was greater than a certain critical value. A range of signal to noise filter cut‐off values and highly myelinated critical values were investigated. This thesis demonstrates, for the first time, a very strong and significant correlation (r = 0.990, p = 0.001) between verbal intelligence quotient scores on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Revised and myelination in the corpus callosum of developing children. This relationship is supported by a growing number of studies showing a correlation between white matter development and cognitive ability. In addition, due to the restricted age range of our subjects, this work is able to show the individual variations in myelin maturation rates.

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