Several Diffusion Tensor MRI (DTI) studies on the process of healthy brain maturation have shown diffusion characteristics to change over time. A direct link is often made between changes in fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) on the one hand and changes in brain macro- and microstructure on the other. However, the volume of brain structures varies over time and between subjects. This changes the relative influence of partial volume effects on diffusion measures of those structures. Specifically, larger volumes will show increased FA and decreased MD when volume increases. Previous studies have attributed changes in diffusion measures fully to changes in micro- and macrostructure, but this may not be the full picture. This literature study examines whether reported change in FA correlates with change in volume and discusses the influence on conclusions drawn in previous studies. It is found that trends in FA follow those in volumetric data. It is concluded that reported structural changes may be overestimated as a result. How large this error is needs to be determined by future research
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