A method has been developed whereby diffusion and exchange in micro cellular structures in the human brain are correlated to produce a new type of image contrast leading to determination of water exchange rates in vivo. The diffusion method relies on differential apparent diffusion coefficients as detectable nuclei exchange between adjacent compartments marked with different apparent diffusion coefficient values (e.g. intra- and extra-cellular compartments). A new pulse sequence was developed, and used to calculate water intra/extra mean residence times in brain, and the signal dependence on various experimental parameters was analysed. The method was tested in vivo at 3T field strength and produced 160 ms and 550 ms for extra-cellular and intra-cellular mean residence times, respectively.
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