Diffusional kurtosis imaging (DKI) is an emerging technique that describes diffusion of water molecules in terms of deviation from Gaussian distribution. This study investigated correlations between DKI metrics and cognitive function in patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH).
DKI was performed in 29 iNPH patients and 14 age-matched controls. Mini-mental state examination (MMSE), frontal assessment battery (FAB), and trail making test A (TMT-A) were used as cognitive measures. Tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) analyses were performed to investigate the between-group differences and correlations with the cognitive measures of the diffusion metrics, including mean kurtosis (MK), fractional anisotropy (FA), apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), axial diffusivity (AD), and radial diffusivity (RD).
In iNPH patients, FA and MK identified positive correlations with cognitive function in similar regions, predominantly in the frontal lobes ( P < 0.05, corrected for multiple comparisons). The frontoparietal subcortical white matter showed significant correlations with FAB and TMT-A across more extensive areas in MK analyses than in FA. ADC, AD, and RD analyses showed no significant correlations with MMSE and FAB, while negative correlation with TMT-A was observed in the limited portion of the frontal deep white matter.