The functional significance of the brain's white matter was not fully appreciated until new imaging methods were developed to visualize fiber pathways and connections in the living brain. Rapid advances in diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) have led to substantial insights into human brain development and disease processes and have thrust white matter into the focus of researchers and clinicians alike. The full clinical potential of this relatively new technique remains to be determined, but early indicators suggest that DTI will be a significant new technology in mapping mechanisms of human health and disease. Here we review brain changes that have been studied with DTI over the human lifespan and findings in a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders. We also suggest future areas where DTI is likely to have significant impact.

Keyword(s): diseaseDTIneurobiologytensortracts

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  • Article Type: Review Article
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