Skin microcirculation plays an important role in several diseases including chronic venous insufficiency and diabetes. Magnetic resonance (MR) has the potential to provide quantitative information and a better penetration depth compared with other non-invasive methods such as laser Doppler flowmetry or optical coherence tomography. The continuous progress in hardware resulting in higher sensitivity must be coupled with advances in data acquisition schemes. In this article, we first introduce a physical model for quantifying skin microcirculation using diffusion-weighted MR (DWMR) based on an effective dispersion model for skin leading to a q-space model of the DWMR complex signal, and then design the corresponding robust optimal experiments. The resulting robust optimal DWMR protocols improve the worst-case quality of parameter estimates using nonlinear least squares optimization by exploiting available a priori knowledge of model parameters. Hence, our approach optimizes the gradient strengths and directions used in DWMR experiments to robustly minimize the size of the parameter estimation error with respect to model parameter uncertainty. Numerical evaluations are presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach as compared to conventional DWMR protocols.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics