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The accurate and reliable estimation of fiber orientation distributions, based on diffusion-sensitized magnetic resonance images is a major prerequisite for tractography algorithms or any other derived statistical analysis. In this work, we formulate the principle of fiber continuity (FC), which is based on the simple observation that the imaging of fibrous tissue implies certain expectations for the measured images. From this principle we derive a prior for the estimation of fiber orientation distributions based on high angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI). We demonstrate on simulated, phantom, and in vivo data the superiority of the proposed approach. Further, we propose another application of the FC principle, named FC flow, a method to resolve complex crossing regions solely based on diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). The idea is to infer directional information in crossing regions from adjacent anisotropic areas.