NOise reduction with DIstribution Corrected (NORDIC) PCA in dMRI with complex-valued parameter-free locally low-rank processing

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33 Scopus citations


Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) has found great utility for a wide range of neuroscientific and clinical applications. However, high-resolution dMRI, which is required for improved delineation of fine brain structures and connectomics, is hampered by its low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Since dMRI relies on the acquisition of multiple different diffusion weighted images of the same anatomy, it is well-suited for denoising methods that utilize correlations across the image series to improve the apparent SNR and the subsequent data analysis. In this work, we introduce and quantitatively evaluate a comprehensive framework, NOise Reduction with DIstribution Corrected (NORDIC) PCA method for processing dMRI. NORDIC uses low-rank modeling of g-factor-corrected complex dMRI reconstruction and non-asymptotic random matrix distributions to remove signal components which cannot be distinguished from thermal noise. The utility of the proposed framework for denoising dMRI is demonstrated on both simulations and experimental data obtained at 3 Tesla with different resolutions using human connectome project style acquisitions. The proposed framework leads to substantially enhanced quantitative performance for estimating diffusion tractography related measures and for resolving crossing fibers as compared to a conventional/state-of-the-art dMRI denoising method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117539
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
NIH P41 EB027061, NIH U01 EB025144, NSF CAREER CCF-1651825.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020


  • Brain imaging
  • Denoising
  • Diffusion MRI
  • Human connectome project
  • Multiband
  • Simultaneous multi-slice
  • Singular value decomposition

Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) tags

  • IRP
  • BFC
  • P41


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