Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has become an essential tool in the evaluation of neonatal encephalopathy. Magnetic resonance-compatible neonatal incubators allow sick neonates to be transported to the MR scanner, and neonatal head coils can improve signal-to-noise ratio, critical for advanced MR imaging techniques. Refinement of conventional imaging techniques include the use of PROPELLER techniques for motion correction. Magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging and diffusion tensor imaging provide quantitative assessment of both brain development and brain injury in the newborn with respect to metabolite abnormalities and hypoxic-ischemic injury. Knowledge of normal developmental changes in MR spectroscopy metabolite concentration and diffusion tensor metrics is essential to interpret pathological cases. Perfusion MR and functional MR can provide additional physiological information. Both MR spectroscopy and diffusion tensor imaging can provide additional information in the differential of neonatal encephalopathy, including perinatal white matter injury, hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, metabolic disease, infection, and birth injury.
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