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Published Online: 20 September 2011

Tractography: Where Do We Go from Here?

Publication: Brain Connectivity
Volume 1, Issue Number 3

Abstract

Diffusion tractography offers enormous potential for the study of human brain anatomy. However, as a method to study brain connectivity, tractography suffers from limitations, as it is indirect, inaccurate, and difficult to quantify. Despite these limitations, appropriate use of tractography can be a powerful means to address certain questions. In addition, while some of tractography's limitations are fundamental, others could be alleviated by methodological and technological advances. This article provides an overview of diffusion magnetic resonance tractography methods with a focus on how future advances might address challenges in measuring brain connectivity. Parts of this review are somewhat provocative, in the hope that they may trigger discussions possibly lacking in a field where the apparent simplicity of the methods (compared to their functional magnetic resonance imaging counterparts) can hide some fundamental issues that ultimately hinder the interpretation of findings, and cast doubt as to what tractography can really teach us about human brain anatomy.

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cover image Brain Connectivity
Brain Connectivity
Volume 1Issue Number 32011
Pages: 169 - 183
PubMed: 22433046

History

Published online: 20 September 2011
Published in print: 2011
Published ahead of print: 30 August 2011
Published ahead of production: 9 August 2011

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Saad Jbabdi
FMRIB Centre, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.
Heidi Johansen-Berg
FMRIB Centre, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

Notes

Address correspondence to:Saad JbabdiUniversity of OxfordJohn Radcliffe HospitalHeadley WayHeadingtonOxford OX3 9DUUnited Kingdom
E-mail: [email protected]

Author Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist.

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