Publications

2021
Filip Szczepankiewicz, Jens Sjölund, Erica Dall'Armellina, Sven Plein, Jürgen E Schneider, Irvin Teh, and Carl-Fredrik Westin. 4/2021. “Motion-Compensated Gradient Waveforms for Tensor-Valued Diffusion Encoding by Constrained Numerical Optimization.” Magn Reson Med, 85, 4, Pp. 2117-26.Abstract
PURPOSE: Diffusion-weighted MRI is sensitive to incoherent tissue motion, which may confound the measured signal and subsequent analysis. We propose a "motion-compensated" gradient waveform design for tensor-valued diffusion encoding that negates the effects bulk motion and incoherent motion in the ballistic regime. METHODS: Motion compensation was achieved by constraining the magnitude of gradient waveform moment vectors. The constraint was incorporated into a numerical optimization framework, along with existing constraints that account for b-tensor shape, hardware restrictions, and concomitant field gradients. We evaluated the efficacy of encoding and motion compensation in simulations, and we demonstrated the approach by linear and planar b-tensor encoding in a healthy heart in vivo. RESULTS: The optimization framework produced asymmetric motion-compensated waveforms that yielded b-tensors of arbitrary shape with improved efficiency compared with previous designs for tensor-valued encoding, and equivalent efficiency to previous designs for linear (conventional) encoding. Technical feasibility was demonstrated in the heart in vivo, showing vastly improved data quality when using motion compensation. The optimization framework is available online in open source. CONCLUSION: Our gradient waveform design is both more flexible and efficient than previous methods, facilitating tensor-valued diffusion encoding in tissues in which motion would otherwise confound the signal. The proposed design exploits asymmetric encoding times, a single refocusing pulse or multiple refocusing pulses, and integrates compensation for concomitant gradient effects throughout the imaging volume.
Lipeng Ning, Filip Szczepankiewicz, Markus Nilsson, Yogesh Rathi, and Carl-Fredrik Westin. 1/2021. “Probing Tissue Microstructure by Diffusion Skewness Tensor Imaging.” Sci Rep, 11, 1, Pp. 135.Abstract
Probing the cellular structure of in vivo biological tissue is a fundamental problem in biomedical imaging and medical science. This work introduces an approach for analyzing diffusion magnetic resonance imaging data acquired by the novel tensor-valued encoding technique for characterizing tissue microstructure. Our approach first uses a signal model to estimate the variance and skewness of the distribution of apparent diffusion tensors modeling the underlying tissue. Then several novel imaging indices, such as weighted microscopic anisotropy and microscopic skewness, are derived to characterize different ensembles of diffusion processes that are indistinguishable by existing techniques. The contributions of this work also include a theoretical proof that shows that, to estimate the skewness of a diffusion tensor distribution, the encoding protocol needs to include full-rank tensor diffusion encoding. This proof provides a guideline for the application of this technique. The properties of the proposed indices are illustrated using both synthetic data and in vivo data acquired from a human brain.
Fan Zhang, Kang Ik Kevin Cho, Yingying Tang, Tianhong Zhang, Sinead Kelly, Maria Di Biase, Lihua Xu, Huijun Li, Keshevan Matcheri, Susan Whitfield-Gabrieli, Margaret Niznikiewicz, William S Stone, Jijun Wang, Martha E Shenton, and Ofer Pasternak. 2/2021. “MK-Curve Improves Sensitivity to Identify White Matter Alterations in Clinical High Risk for Psychosis.” Neuroimage, 226, Pp. 117564.Abstract
Diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI) is a diffusion MRI approach that enables the measurement of brain microstructural properties, reflecting molecular restrictions and tissue heterogeneity. DKI parameters such as mean kurtosis (MK) provide additional subtle information to that provided by popular diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) parameters, and thus have been considered useful to detect white matter abnormalities, especially in populations that are not expected to show severe brain pathologies. However, DKI parameters often yield artifactual output values that are outside of the biologically plausible range, which diminish sensitivity to identify true microstructural changes. Recently we have proposed the mean-kurtosis-curve (MK-Curve) method to correct voxels with implausible DKI parameters, and demonstrated its improved performance against other approaches that correct artifacts in DKI. In this work, we aimed to evaluate the utility of the MK-Curve method to improve the identification of white matter abnormalities in group comparisons. To do so, we compared group differences, with and without the MK-Curve correction, between 115 individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis (CHR) and 93 healthy controls (HCs). We also compared the correlation of the corrected and uncorrected DKI parameters with clinical characteristics. Following the MK-curve correction, the group differences had larger effect sizes and higher statistical significance (i.e., lower p-values), demonstrating increased sensitivity to detect group differences, in particular in MK. Furthermore, the MK-curve-corrected DKI parameters displayed stronger correlations with clinical variables in CHR individuals, demonstrating the clinical relevance of the corrected parameters. Overall, following the MK-curve correction our analyses found widespread lower MK in CHR that overlapped with lower fractional anisotropy (FA), and both measures were significantly correlated with a decline in functioning and with more severe symptoms. These observations further characterize white matter alterations in the CHR stage, demonstrating that MK and FA abnormalities are widespread, and mostly overlap. The improvement in group differences and stronger correlation with clinical variables suggest that applying MK-curve would be beneficial for the detection and characterization of subtle group differences in other experiments as well.
Andrew Beers, James Brown, Ken Chang, Katharina Hoebel, Jay Patel, Ina K Ly, Sara M Tolaney, Priscilla Brastianos, Bruce Rosen, Elizabeth R Gerstner, and Jayashree Kalpathy-Cramer. 1/2021. “DeepNeuro: An Open-Source Deep Learning Toolbox for Neuroimaging.” Neuroinformatics, 19, 1, Pp. 127-40.Abstract
Translating deep learning research from theory into clinical practice has unique challenges, specifically in the field of neuroimaging. In this paper, we present DeepNeuro, a Python-based deep learning framework that puts deep neural networks for neuroimaging into practical usage with a minimum of friction during implementation. We show how this framework can be used to design deep learning pipelines that can load and preprocess data, design and train various neural network architectures, and evaluate and visualize the results of trained networks on evaluation data. We present a way of reproducibly packaging data pre- and postprocessing functions common in the neuroimaging community, which facilitates consistent performance of networks across variable users, institutions, and scanners. We show how deep learning pipelines created with DeepNeuro can be concisely packaged into shareable Docker and Singularity containers with user-friendly command-line interfaces.
2020
Joseph M Gullett, Andrew O'Shea, Damon G Lamb, Eric C Porges, Deirdre M O'Shea, Ofer Pasternak, Ronald A Cohen, and Adam J Woods. 10/2020. “The Association of White Matter Free Water With Cognition in Older Adults.” Neuroimage, 219, Pp. 117040.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Extracellular free water within cerebral white matter tissue has been shown to increase with age and pathology, yet the cognitive consequences of free water in typical aging prior to the development of neurodegenerative disease remains unclear. Understanding the contribution of free water to cognitive function in older adults may provide important insight into the neural mechanisms of the cognitive aging process. METHODS: A diffusion-weighted MRI measure of extracellular free water as well as a commonly used diffusion MRI metric (fractional anisotropy) along nine bilateral white matter pathways were examined for their relationship with cognitive function assessed by the NIH Toolbox Cognitive Battery in 47 older adults (mean age ​= ​74.4 years, SD ​= ​5.4 years, range ​= ​65-85 years). Probabilistic tractography at the 99th percentile level of probability (Tracts Constrained by Underlying Anatomy; TRACULA) was utilized to produce the pathways on which microstructural characteristics were overlaid and examined for their contribution to cognitive function independent of age, education, and gender. RESULTS: When examining the 99th percentile probability core white matter pathway derived from TRACULA, poorer fluid cognitive ability was related to higher mean free water values across the angular and cingulum bundles of the cingulate gyrus, as well as the corticospinal tract and the superior longitudinal fasciculus. There was no relationship between cognition and mean FA or free water-adjusted FA across the 99th percentile core white matter pathway. Crystallized cognitive ability was not associated with any of the diffusion measures. When examining cognitive domains comprising the NIH Toolbox Fluid Cognition index relationships with these white matter pathways, mean free water demonstrated strong hemispheric and functional specificity for cognitive performance, whereas mean FA was not related to age or cognition across the 99th percentile pathway. CONCLUSIONS: Extracellular free water within white matter appears to increase with normal aging, and higher values are associated with significantly lower fluid but not crystallized cognitive functions. When using TRACULA to estimate the core of a white matter pathway, a higher degree of free water appears to be highly specific to the pathways associated with memory, working memory, and speeded decision-making performance, whereas no such relationship existed with FA. These data suggest that free water may play an important role in the cognitive aging process, and may serve as a stronger and more specific indicator of early cognitive decline than traditional diffusion MRI measures, such as FA.
Angel Torrado-Carvajal, Nicola Toschi, Daniel S Albrecht, Ken Chang, Oluwaseun Akeju, Minhae Kim, Robert R Edwards, Yi Zhang, Jacob M Hooker, Andrea Duggento, Jayashree Kalpathy-Cramer, Vitaly Napadow, and Marco L Loggia. 10/2020. “Thalamic Neuroinflammation as a Reproducible and Discriminating Signature for Chronic Low Back Pain.” Pain.Abstract
Using positron emission tomography, we recently demonstrated elevated brain levels of the 18kDa translocator protein (TSPO), a glial activation marker, in chronic low back pain (cLBP) patients, compared to healthy controls (HC). Here, we first sought to replicate the original findings in an independent cohort (15 cLBP, 37.8±12.5 y/o; 18 HC, 48.2±12.8 y/o). We then trained random forest (RF) machine learning algorithms based on TSPO imaging features combining discovery and replication cohorts (totaling 25 cLBP, 42.4±13.2 y/o; 27 HC, 48.9±12.6 y/o), in order to explore whether image features other than the mean contain meaningful information that might contribute to the discrimination of cLBP patients and HC. Feature importance was ranked usind SHapley Additive exPlanations (SHAP) values, and the classification performance (in terms of AUC values) of classifiers containing only the mean, other features, or all features was compared using the DeLong test. Both region-of-interest (ROI) and voxelwise analyses replicated the original observation of thalamic TSPO signal elevations in cLBP patients compared to HC (p's<0.05). The RF-based analyses revealed that while the mean is a discriminating feature, other features demonstrate similar level of importance, including the maximum, kurtosis and entropy.Our observations suggest that thalamic neuroinflammatory signal is a reproducible and discriminating feature for cLBP, further supporting a role for glial activation in human chronic low back pain, and the exploration of neuroinflammation as a therapeutic target for chronic pain. This work further shows that TSPO signal contains a richness of information that the simple mean might fail to capture completely.
Björn Lampinen, Filip Szczepankiewicz, Johan Mårtensson, Danielle van Westen, Oskar Hansson, Carl-Fredrik Westin, and Markus Nilsson. 9/2020. “Towards Unconstrained Compartment Modeling in White Matter Using Diffusion-Relaxation MRI with Tensor-Valued Diffusion Encoding.” Magn Reson Med, 84, 3, Pp. 1605-23.Abstract
PURPOSE: To optimize diffusion-relaxation MRI with tensor-valued diffusion encoding for precise estimation of compartment-specific fractions, diffusivities, and T values within a two-compartment model of white matter, and to explore the approach in vivo. METHODS: Sampling protocols featuring different b-values (b), b-tensor shapes (b ), and echo times (TE) were optimized using Cramér-Rao lower bounds (CRLB). Whole-brain data were acquired in children, adults, and elderly with white matter lesions. Compartment fractions, diffusivities, and T values were estimated in a model featuring two microstructural compartments represented by a "stick" and a "zeppelin." RESULTS: Precise parameter estimates were enabled by sampling protocols featuring seven or more "shells" with unique b/b /TE-combinations. Acquisition times were approximately 15 minutes. In white matter of adults, the "stick" compartment had a fraction of approximately 0.5 and, compared with the "zeppelin" compartment, featured lower isotropic diffusivities (0.6 vs. 1.3 μm /ms) but higher T values (85 vs. 65 ms). Children featured lower "stick" fractions (0.4). White matter lesions exhibited high "zeppelin" isotropic diffusivities (1.7 μm /ms) and T values (150 ms). CONCLUSIONS: Diffusion-relaxation MRI with tensor-valued diffusion encoding expands the set of microstructure parameters that can be precisely estimated and therefore increases their specificity to biological quantities.
Kyriakos Dalamagkas, Magdalini Tsintou, Yogesh Rathi, Lauren J O'Donnell, Ofer Pasternak, Xue Gong, Anne Zhu, Peter Savadjiev, George M Papadimitriou, Marek Kubicki, Edward H Yeterian, and Nikos Makris. 6/2020. “Individual Variations of the Human Corticospinal Tract and Its Hand-Related Motor Fibers Using Diffusion MRI Tractography.” Brain Imaging Behav, 14, 3, Pp. 696-714.Abstract
The corticospinal tract (CST) is one of the most well studied tracts in human neuroanatomy. Its clinical significance can be demonstrated in many notable traumatic conditions and diseases such as stroke, spinal cord injury (SCI) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). With the advent of diffusion MRI and tractography the computational representation of the human CST in a 3D model became available. However, the representation of the entire CST and, specifically, the hand motor area has remained elusive. In this paper we propose a novel method, using manually drawn ROIs based on robustly identifiable neuroanatomic structures to delineate the entire CST and isolate its hand motor representation as well as to estimate their variability and generate a database of their volume, length and biophysical parameters. Using 37 healthy human subjects we performed a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the CST and the hand-related motor fiber tracts (HMFTs). Finally, we have created variability heat maps from 37 subjects for both the aforementioned tracts, which could be utilized as a reference for future studies with clinical focus to explore neuropathology in both trauma and disease states.
Ting Xu, Karl-Heinz Nenning, Ernst Schwartz, Seok-Jun Hong, Joshua T Vogelstein, Alexandros Goulas, Damien A Fair, Charles E Schroeder, Daniel S Margulies, Jonny Smallwood, Michael P Milham, and Georg Langs. 12/2020. “Cross-Species Functional Alignment Reveals Evolutionary Hierarchy Within the Connectome.” Neuroimage, 223, Pp. 117346.Abstract
Evolution provides an important window into how cortical organization shapes function and vice versa. The complex mosaic of changes in brain morphology and functional organization that have shaped the mammalian cortex during evolution, complicates attempts to chart cortical differences across species. It limits our ability to fully appreciate how evolution has shaped our brain, especially in systems associated with unique human cognitive capabilities that lack anatomical homologues in other species. Here, we develop a function-based method for cross-species alignment that enables the quantification of homologous regions between humans and rhesus macaques, even when their location is decoupled from anatomical landmarks. Critically, we find cross-species similarity in functional organization reflects a gradient of evolutionary change that decreases from unimodal systems and culminates with the most pronounced changes in posterior regions of the default mode network (angular gyrus, posterior cingulate and middle temporal cortices). Our findings suggest that the establishment of the default mode network, as the apex of a cognitive hierarchy, has changed in a complex manner during human evolution - even within subnetworks.
Luca Canalini, Jan Klein, Dorothea Miller, and Ron Kikinis. 12/2020. “Enhanced Registration of Ultrasound Volumes by Segmentation of Resection Cavity in Neurosurgical Procedures.” Int J Comput Assist Radiol Surg, 15, 13, Pp. 1963-74.Abstract
PURPOSE: Neurosurgeons can have a better understanding of surgical procedures by comparing ultrasound images obtained at different phases of the tumor resection. However, establishing a direct mapping between subsequent acquisitions is challenging due to the anatomical changes happening during surgery. We propose here a method to improve the registration of ultrasound volumes, by excluding the resection cavity from the registration process. METHODS: The first step of our approach includes the automatic segmentation of the resection cavities in ultrasound volumes, acquired during and after resection. We used a convolution neural network inspired by the 3D U-Net. Then, subsequent ultrasound volumes are registered by excluding the contribution of resection cavity. RESULTS: Regarding the segmentation of the resection cavity, the proposed method achieved a mean DICE index of 0.84 on 27 volumes. Concerning the registration of the subsequent ultrasound acquisitions, we reduced the mTRE of the volumes acquired before and during resection from 3.49 to 1.22 mm. For the set of volumes acquired before and after removal, the mTRE improved from 3.55 to 1.21 mm. CONCLUSIONS: We proposed an innovative registration algorithm to compensate the brain shift affecting ultrasound volumes obtained at subsequent phases of neurosurgical procedures. To the best of our knowledge, our method is the first to exclude automatically segmented resection cavities in the registration of ultrasound volumes in neurosurgery.
Andrey Fedorov, Matthew Hancock, David Clunie, Mathias Brochhausen, Jonathan Bona, Justin Kirby, John Freymann, Steve Pieper, Hugo JWL Aerts, Ron Kikinis, and Fred Prior. 11/2020. “DICOM Re-encoding of Volumetrically Annotated Lung Imaging Database Consortium (LIDC) Nodules.” Med Phys, 47, 11, Pp. 5953-65.Abstract
PURPOSE: The dataset contains annotations for lung nodules collected by the Lung Imaging Data Consortium and Image Database Resource Initiative (LIDC) stored as standard DICOM objects. The annotations accompany a collection of computed tomography (CT) scans for over 1000 subjects annotated by multiple expert readers, and correspond to "nodules ≥ 3 mm", defined as any lesion considered to be a nodule with greatest in-plane dimension in the range 3-30 mm regardless of presumed histology. The present dataset aims to simplify reuse of the data with the readily available tools, and is targeted towards researchers interested in the analysis of lung CT images. ACQUISITION AND VALIDATION METHODS: Open source tools were utilized to parse the project-specific XML representation of LIDC-IDRI annotations and save the result as standard DICOM objects. Validation procedures focused on establishing compliance of the resulting objects with the standard, consistency of the data between the DICOM and project-specific representation, and evaluating interoperability with the existing tools. DATA FORMAT AND USAGE NOTES: The dataset utilizes DICOM Segmentation objects for storing annotations of the lung nodules, and DICOM Structured Reporting objects for communicating qualitative evaluations (nine attributes) and quantitative measurements (three attributes) associated with the nodules. The total of 875 subjects contain 6859 nodule annotations. Clustering of the neighboring annotations resulted in 2651 distinct nodules. The data are available in TCIA at https://doi.org/10.7937/TCIA.2018.h7umfurq. POTENTIAL APPLICATIONS: The standardized dataset maintains the content of the original contribution of the LIDC-IDRI consortium, and should be helpful in developing automated tools for characterization of lung lesions and image phenotyping. In addition to those properties, the representation of the present dataset makes it more FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) for the research community, and enables its integration with other standardized data collections.
Fan Zhang, Guoqiang Xie, Laura Leung, Michael A Mooney, Lorenz Epprecht, Isaiah Norton, Yogesh Rathi, Ron Kikinis, Ossama Al-Mefty, Nikos Makris, Alexandra J Golby, and Lauren J O'Donnell. 10/2020. “Creation of a Novel Trigeminal Tractography Atlas for Automated Trigeminal Nerve Identification.” Neuroimage, 220, Pp. 117063.Abstract
Diffusion MRI (dMRI) tractography has been successfully used to study the trigeminal nerves (TGNs) in many clinical and research applications. Currently, identification of the TGN in tractography data requires expert nerve selection using manually drawn regions of interest (ROIs), which is prone to inter-observer variability, time-consuming and carries high clinical and labor costs. To overcome these issues, we propose to create a novel anatomically curated TGN tractography atlas that enables automated identification of the TGN from dMRI tractography. In this paper, we first illustrate the creation of a trigeminal tractography atlas. Leveraging a well-established computational pipeline and expert neuroanatomical knowledge, we generate a data-driven TGN fiber clustering atlas using tractography data from 50 subjects from the Human Connectome Project. Then, we demonstrate the application of the proposed atlas for automated TGN identification in new subjects, without relying on expert ROI placement. Quantitative and visual experiments are performed with comparison to expert TGN identification using dMRI data from two different acquisition sites. We show highly comparable results between the automatically and manually identified TGNs in terms of spatial overlap and visualization, while our proposed method has several advantages. First, our method performs automated TGN identification, and thus it provides an efficient tool to reduce expert labor costs and inter-operator bias relative to expert manual selection. Second, our method is robust to potential imaging artifacts and/or noise that can prevent successful manual ROI placement for TGN selection and hence yields a higher successful TGN identification rate.
Karl-Heinz Nenning, Julia Furtner, Barbara Kiesel, Ernst Schwartz, Thomas Roetzer, Nikolaus Fortelny, Christoph Bock, Anna Grisold, Martha Marko, Fritz Leutmezer, Hesheng Liu, Polina Golland, Sophia Stoecklein, Johannes A Hainfellner, Gregor Kasprian, Daniela Prayer, Christine Marosi, Georg Widhalm, Adelheid Woehrer, and Georg Langs. 10/2020. “Distributed Changes of the Functional Connectome in Patients with Glioblastoma.” Sci Rep, 10, 1, Pp. 18312.Abstract
Glioblastoma might have widespread effects on the neural organization and cognitive function, and even focal lesions may be associated with distributed functional alterations. However, functional changes do not necessarily follow obvious anatomical patterns and the current understanding of this interrelation is limited. In this study, we used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging to evaluate changes in global functional connectivity patterns in 15 patients with glioblastoma. For six patients we followed longitudinal trajectories of their functional connectome and structural tumour evolution using bi-monthly follow-up scans throughout treatment and disease progression. In all patients, unilateral tumour lesions were associated with inter-hemispherically symmetric network alterations, and functional proximity of tumour location was stronger linked to distributed network deterioration than anatomical distance. In the longitudinal subcohort of six patients, we observed patterns of network alterations with initial transient deterioration followed by recovery at first follow-up, and local network deterioration to precede structural tumour recurrence by two months. In summary, the impact of focal glioblastoma lesions on the functional connectome is global and linked to functional proximity rather than anatomical distance to tumour regions. Our findings further suggest a relevance for functional network trajectories as a possible means supporting early detection of tumour recurrence.
Fiona M Fennessy, Andriy Fedorov, Mark G Vangel, Robert V. Mulkern, Maria Tretiakova, Rosina T Lis, Clare Tempany, and Mary-Ellen Taplin. 10/2020. “Multiparametric MRI as a Biomarker of Response to Neoadjuvant Therapy for Localized Prostate Cancer-A Pilot Study.” Acad Radiol, 27, 10, Pp. 1432-9.Abstract
RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES: To explore a role for multiparametric MRI (mpMRI) as a biomarker of response to neoadjuvant androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer (PCa). MATERIALS AND METHODS: This prospective study was approved by the institutional review board and was HIPAA compliant. Eight patients with localized PCa had a baseline mpMRI, repeated after 6-months of ADT, followed by prostatectomy. mpMRI indices were extracted from tumor and normal regions of interest (TROI/NROI). Residual cancer burden (RCB) was measured on mpMRI and on the prostatectomy specimen. Paired t-tests compared TROI/NROI mpMRI indices and pre/post-treatment TROI mpMRI indices. Spearman's rank tested for correlations between MRI/pathology-based RCB, and between pathological RCB and mpMRI indices. RESULTS: At baseline, TROI apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) was lower and dynamic contrast enhanced (DCE) metrics were higher, compared to NROI (ADC: 806 ± 137 × 10 vs. 1277 ± 213 × 10 mm/sec, p = 0.0005; K: 0.346 ± 0.16 vs. 0.144 ± 0.06 min, p = 0.002; AUC: 0.213 ± 0.08 vs. 0.11 ± 0.03, p = 0.002). Post-treatment, there was no change in TROI ADC, but a decrease in TROI K (0.346 ± 0.16 to 0.188 ± 0.08 min; p = 0.02) and AUC (0.213 ± 0.08 to 0.13 ± 0.06; p = 0.02). Tumor volume decreased with ADT. There was no difference between mpMRI-based and pathology-based RCB, which positively correlated (⍴ = 0.74-0.81, p < 0.05). Pathology-based RCB positively correlated with post-treatment DCE metrics (⍴ = 0.76-0.70, p < 0.05) and negatively with ADC (⍴ = -0.79, p = 0.03). CONCLUSION: Given the heterogeneity of PCa, an individualized approach to ADT may maximize potential benefit. This pilot study suggests that mpMRI may serve as a biomarker of ADT response and as a surrogate for RCB at prostatectomy.
Clinton J Wang, Natalia S Rost, and Polina Golland. 10/2020. “Spatial-Intensity Transform GANs for High Fidelity Medical Image-to-Image Translation.” Med Image Comput Comput Assist Interv, 12262, Pp. 749-59.Abstract
Despite recent progress in image-to-image translation, it remains challenging to apply such techniques to clinical quality medical images. We develop a novel parameterization of conditional generative adversarial networks that achieves high image fidelity when trained to transform MRIs conditioned on a patient's age and disease severity. The spatial-intensity transform generative adversarial network (SIT-GAN) constrains the generator to a smooth spatial transform composed with sparse intensity changes. This technique improves image quality and robustness to artifacts, and generalizes to different scanners. We demonstrate SIT-GAN on a large clinical image dataset of stroke patients, where it captures associations between ventricle expansion and aging, as well as between white matter hyperintensities and stroke severity. Additionally, SIT-GAN provides a disentangled view of the variation in shape and appearance across subjects.
Daniel Haehn, Loraine Franke, Fan Zhang, Suheyla Cetin-Karayumak, Steve Pieper, Lauren J O'Donnell, and Yogesh Rathi. 10/2020. “TRAKO: Efficient Transmission of Tractography Data for Visualization.” Med Image Comput Comput Assist Interv, 12267, Pp. 322-32.Abstract
Fiber tracking produces large tractography datasets that are tens of gigabytes in size consisting of millions of streamlines. Such vast amounts of data require formats that allow for efficient storage, transfer, and visualization. We present TRAKO, a new data format based on the Graphics Layer Transmission Format (glTF) that enables immediate graphical and hardware-accelerated processing. We integrate a state-of-the-art compression technique for vertices, streamlines, and attached scalar and property data. We then compare TRAKO to existing tractography storage methods and provide a detailed evaluation on eight datasets. TRAKO can achieve data reductions of over 28x without loss of statistical significance when used to replicate analysis from previously published studies.
Richard Jarrett Rushmore, Peter Wilson-Braun, George Papadimitriou, Isaac Ng, Yogesh Rathi, Fan Zhang, Lauren Jean O'Donnell, Marek Kubicki, Sylvain Bouix, Edward Yeterian, Jean-Jacques Lemaire, Evan Calabrese, Allan G Johnson, Ron Kikinis, and Nikos Makris. 9/2020. “3D Exploration of the Brainstem in 50-Micron Resolution MRI.” Front Neuroanat, 14, Pp. 40.Abstract
The brainstem, a structure of vital importance in mammals, is currently becoming a principal focus in cognitive, affective, and clinical neuroscience. Midbrain, pontine and medullary structures serve as the conduit for signals between the forebrain and spinal cord, are the epicenter of cranial nerve-circuits and systems, and subserve such integrative functions as consciousness, emotional processing, pain, and motivation. In this study, we parcellated the nuclear masses and the principal fiber pathways that were visible in a high-resolution T2-weighted MRI dataset of 50-micron isotropic voxels of a postmortem human brainstem. Based on this analysis, we generated a detailed map of the human brainstem. To assess the validity of our maps, we compared our observations with histological maps of traditional human brainstem atlases. Given the unique capability of MRI-based morphometric analysis in generating and preserving the morphology of 3D objects from individual 2D sections, we reconstructed the motor, sensory and integrative neural systems of the brainstem and rendered them in 3D representations. We anticipate the utilization of these maps by the neuroimaging community for applications in basic neuroscience as well as in neurology, psychiatry, and neurosurgery, due to their versatile computational nature in 2D and 3D representations in a publicly available capacity.
Björn Lampinen, Ariadne Zampeli, Isabella M Björkman-Burtscher, Filip Szczepankiewicz, Kristina Källén, Maria Compagno Strandberg, and Markus Nilsson. 8/15/2020. “Tensor-Valued Diffusion MRI Differentiates Cortex and White Matter in Malformations of Cortical Development Associated With Epilepsy.” Epilepsia, 61, 8, Pp. 1701-13.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: Delineation of malformations of cortical development (MCD) is central in presurgical evaluation of drug-resistant epilepsy. Delineation using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be ambiguous, however, because the conventional T - and T -weighted contrasts depend strongly on myelin for differentiation of cortical tissue and white matter. Variations in myelin content within both cortex and white matter may cause MCD findings on MRI to change size, become undetectable, or disagree with histopathology. The novel tensor-valued diffusion MRI (dMRI) technique maps microscopic diffusion anisotropy, which is sensitive to axons rather than myelin. This work investigated whether tensor-valued dMRI may improve differentiation of cortex and white matter in the delineation of MCD. METHODS: Tensor-valued dMRI was performed on a 7 T MRI scanner in 13 MCD patients (age = 32 ± 13 years) featuring periventricular heterotopia, subcortical heterotopia, focal cortical dysplasia, and polymicrogyria. Data analysis yielded maps of microscopic anisotropy that were compared with T -weighted and T -fluid-attenuated inversion recovery images and with the fractional anisotropy from diffusion tensor imaging. RESULTS: Maps of microscopic anisotropy revealed large white matter-like regions within MCD that were uniformly cortex-like in the conventional MRI contrasts. These regions were seen particularly in the deep white matter parts of subcortical heterotopias and near the gray-white boundaries of focal cortical dysplasias and polymicrogyrias. SIGNIFICANCE: By being sensitive to axons rather than myelin, mapping of microscopic anisotropy may yield a more robust differentiation of cortex and white matter and improve MCD delineation in presurgical evaluation of epilepsy.
Nityanand Miskin, Prashin Unadkat, Michael E Carlton, Alexandra J Golby, Geoffrey S Young, and Raymond Y Huang. 8/2020. “Frequency and Evolution of New Postoperative Enhancement on 3 Tesla Intraoperative and Early Postoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging.” Neurosurgery, 87, 2, Pp. 238-46.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (IO-MRI) provides real-time assessment of extent of resection of brain tumor. Development of new enhancement during IO-MRI can confound interpretation of residual enhancing tumor, although the incidence of this finding is unknown. OBJECTIVE: To determine the frequency of new enhancement during brain tumor resection on intraoperative 3 Tesla (3T) MRI. To optimize the postoperative imaging window after brain tumor resection using 1.5 and 3T MRI. METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated 64 IO-MRI performed for patients with enhancing brain lesions referred for biopsy or resection as well as a subset with an early postoperative MRI (EP-MRI) within 72 h of surgery (N = 42), and a subset with a late postoperative MRI (LP-MRI) performed between 120 h and 8 wk postsurgery (N = 34). Three radiologists assessed for new enhancement on IO-MRI, and change in enhancement on available EP-MRI and LP-MRI. Consensus was determined by majority response. Inter-rater agreement was assessed using percentage agreement. RESULTS: A total of 10 out of 64 (16%) of the IO-MRI demonstrated new enhancement. Seven of 10 patients with available EP-MRI demonstrated decreased/resolved enhancement. One out of 42 (2%) of the EP-MRI demonstrated new enhancement, which decreased on LP-MRI. Agreement was 74% for the assessment of new enhancement on IO-MRI and 81% for the assessment of new enhancement on the EP-MRI. CONCLUSION: New enhancement occurs in intraoperative 3T MRI in 16% of patients after brain tumor resection, which decreases or resolves on subsequent MRI within 72 h of surgery. Our findings indicate the opportunity for further study to optimize the postoperative imaging window.
Chieh-En J Tseng, Tonya M Gilbert, Mary C Catanese, Baileigh G Hightower, Amy T Peters, Anjali J Parmar, Minhae Kim, Changning Wang, Joshua L Roffman, Hannah E Brown, Roy H Perlis, Nicole R Zürcher, and Jacob M Hooker. 7/2020. “In Vivo Human Brain Expression of Histone Deacetylases in Bipolar Disorder.” Transl Psychiatry, 10, 1, Pp. 224.Abstract
The etiology of bipolar disorder (BD) is unknown and the neurobiological underpinnings are not fully understood. Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the risk of BD, which may be linked through epigenetic mechanisms, including those regulated by histone deacetylase (HDAC) enzymes. This study measures in vivo HDAC expression in individuals with BD for the first time using the HDAC-specific radiotracer [C]Martinostat. Eleven participants with BD and 11 age- and sex-matched control participants (CON) completed a simultaneous magnetic resonance - positron emission tomography (MR-PET) scan with [C]Martinostat. Lower [C]Martinostat uptake was found in the right amygdala of BD compared to CON. We assessed uptake in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) to compare previous findings of lower uptake in the DLPFC in schizophrenia and found no group differences in BD. Exploratory whole-brain voxelwise analysis showed lower [C]Martinostat uptake in the bilateral thalamus, orbitofrontal cortex, right hippocampus, and right amygdala in BD compared to CON. Furthermore, regional [C]Martinostat uptake was associated with emotion regulation in BD in fronto-limbic areas, which aligns with findings from previous structural, functional, and molecular neuroimaging studies in BD. Regional [C]Martinostat uptake was associated with attention in BD in fronto-parietal and temporal regions. These findings indicate a potential role of HDACs in BD pathophysiology. In particular, HDAC expression levels may modulate attention and emotion regulation, which represent two core clinical features of BD.

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