Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Psychology

Supervisor

Dr. Adrian Owen

Abstract

This study investigated the relationship between motor thalamo-cortico-cerebellar fibre path integrity and overt responsiveness in patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC). Additionally, we investigated the potential of imaging these motor tracts at ultra-high fields. Study I and II aimed to map the white matter connections of motor execution fibres in DOC patients. Our results showed significant reductions in motor fibre path integrity across DOC diagnostic categories. Study III and IV aimed to develop a 7T MRI Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) sequence. We optimized this sequence to image motor fibre paths in DOC patients. We concluded that, in healthy controls, probabilistic tractography of these tracts at ultra-high fields was superior to tractography at lower magnetic fields. Further investigation is needed to determine the advantages of imaging these motor tracts at ultra-high fields in patients with disorders of consciousness.


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