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Several MRI measures have been proposed as in vivo biomarkers of myelin, each with applications ranging from plasticity to pathology. Despite the availability of these myelin-sensitive modalities, specificity and sensitivity have been a matter of discussion. Debate about which MRI measure is the most suitable for quantifying myelin is still ongoing. In this study, we performed a systematic review of published quantitative validation studies to clarify how different these measures are when compared to the underlying histology. We analyzed the results from 43 studies applying meta-analysis tools, controlling for study sample size and using interactive visualization ( We report the overall estimates and the prediction intervals for the coefficient of determination and find that MT and relaxometry-based measures exhibit the highest correlations with myelin content. We also show which measures are, and which measures are not statistically different regarding their relationship with histology.

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Department of Neuroscience, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom.