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Myelin is important for the normal development and healthy function of the nervous system. Recent developments in MRI acquisition and tissue modeling aim to provide a better characterization and more specific markers for myelin. This allows for specific monitoring of myelination longitudinally and noninvasively in the healthy brain as well as assessment of treatment and intervention efficacy. Here, we offer a nontechnical review of MRI techniques developed to specifically monitor myelin such as magnetization transfer (MT) and myelin water imaging (MWI). We further summarize recent studies that employ these methods to measure myelin in relation to development and aging, learning and experience, and neuropathology and psychiatric disorders. © 2017 The Authors. Developmental Neurobiology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol 78: 136-151, 2018.

Original publication




Journal article


Dev Neurobiol

Publication Date





136 - 151


MRI, Myelin, magnetization transfer, myelin water imaging