Publications

2019
Lauren J O'Donnell, Alessandro Daducci, Demian Wassermann, and Christophe Lenglet. 4/2019. “Advances in Computational and Statistical Diffusion MRI.” NMR Biomed., 32, 4, Pp. e3805.Abstract
Computational methods are crucial for the analysis of diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain. Computational diffusion MRI can provide rich information at many size scales, including local microstructure measures such as diffusion anisotropies or apparent axon diameters, whole-brain connectivity information that describes the brain's wiring diagram and population-based studies in health and disease. Many of the diffusion MRI analyses performed today were not possible five, ten or twenty years ago, due to the requirements for large amounts of computer memory or processor time. In addition, mathematical frameworks had to be developed or adapted from other fields to create new ways to analyze diffusion MRI data. The purpose of this review is to highlight recent computational and statistical advances in diffusion MRI and to put these advances into context by comparison with the more traditional computational methods that are in popular clinical and scientific use. We aim to provide a high-level overview of interest to diffusion MRI researchers, with a more in-depth treatment to illustrate selected computational advances.
Magnus Herberthson, Cem Yolcu, Hans Knutsson, Carl-Fredrik Westin, and Evren Özarslan. 3/2019. “Orientationally-averaged Diffusion-attenuated Magnetic Resonance Signal for Locally-anisotropic Diffusion.” Sci Rep, 9, 1, Pp. 4899.Abstract
Diffusion-attenuated MR signal for heterogeneous media has been represented as a sum of signals from anisotropic Gaussian sub-domains to the extent that this approximation is permissible. Any effect of macroscopic (global or ensemble) anisotropy in the signal can be removed by averaging the signal values obtained by differently oriented experimental schemes. The resulting average signal is identical to what one would get if the micro-domains are isotropically (e.g., randomly) distributed with respect to orientation, which is the case for "powdered" specimens. We provide exact expressions for the orientationally-averaged signal obtained via general gradient waveforms when the microdomains are characterized by a general diffusion tensor possibly featuring three distinct eigenvalues. This extends earlier results which covered only axisymmetric diffusion as well as measurement tensors. Our results are expected to be useful in not only multidimensional diffusion MR but also solid-state NMR spectroscopy due to the mathematical similarities in the two fields.
Sonja Stojanovski, Daniel Felsky, Joseph D Viviano, Saba Shahab, Rutwik Bangali, Christie L Burton, Gabriel A Devenyi, Lauren J O'Donnell, Peter Szatmari, Mallar M Chakravarty, Stephanie Ameis, Russell Schachar, Aristotle N Voineskos, and Anne L Wheeler. 3/2019. “Polygenic Risk and Neural Substrates of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms in Youths With a History of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.” Biol Psychiatry, 85, 5, Pp. 408-16.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a major sequela of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in youths. The objective of this study was to examine whether ADHD symptoms are differentially associated with genetic risk and brain structure in youths with and without a history of TBI. METHODS: Medical history, ADHD symptoms, genetic data, and neuroimaging data were obtained from a community sample of youths. ADHD symptom severity was compared between those with and without TBI (TBI n = 418, no TBI n = 3193). The relationship of TBI history, genetic vulnerability, brain structure, and ADHD symptoms was examined by assessing 1) ADHD polygenic score (discovery sample ADHD n = 19,099, control sample n = 34,194), 2) basal ganglia volumes, and 3) fractional anisotropy in the corpus callosum and corona radiata. RESULTS: Youths with TBI reported greater ADHD symptom severity compared with those without TBI. Polygenic score was positively associated with ADHD symptoms in youths without TBI but not in youths with TBI. The negative association between the caudate volume and ADHD symptoms was not moderated by a history of TBI. However, the relationship between ADHD symptoms and structure of the genu of the corpus callosum was negative in youths with TBI and positive in youths without TBI. CONCLUSIONS: The identification of distinct ADHD etiology in youths with TBI provides neurobiological insight into the clinical heterogeneity in the disorder. Results indicate that genetic predisposition to ADHD does not increase the risk for ADHD symptoms associated with TBI. ADHD symptoms associated with TBI may be a result of a mechanical insult rather than neurodevelopmental factors.
Fan Zhang, Ye Wu, Isaiah Norton, Yogesh Rathi, Alexandra J Golby, and Lauren J O'Donnell. 3/2019. “Test-retest Reproducibility of White Matter Parcellation using Diffusion MRI Tractography Fiber Clustering.” Hum Brain Mapp.Abstract
There are two popular approaches for automated white matter parcellation using diffusion MRI tractography, including fiber clustering strategies that group white matter fibers according to their geometric trajectories and cortical-parcellation-based strategies that focus on the structural connectivity among different brain regions of interest. While multiple studies have assessed test-retest reproducibility of automated white matter parcellations using cortical-parcellation-based strategies, there are no existing studies of test-retest reproducibility of fiber clustering parcellation. In this work, we perform what we believe is the first study of fiber clustering white matter parcellation test-retest reproducibility. The assessment is performed on three test-retest diffusion MRI datasets including a total of 255 subjects across genders, a broad age range (5-82 years), health conditions (autism, Parkinson's disease and healthy subjects), and imaging acquisition protocols (three different sites). A comprehensive evaluation is conducted for a fiber clustering method that leverages an anatomically curated fiber clustering white matter atlas, with comparison to a popular cortical-parcellation-based method. The two methods are compared for the two main white matter parcellation applications of dividing the entire white matter into parcels (i.e., whole brain white matter parcellation) and identifying particular anatomical fiber tracts (i.e., anatomical fiber tract parcellation). Test-retest reproducibility is measured using both geometric and diffusion features, including volumetric overlap (wDice) and relative difference of fractional anisotropy. Our experimental results in general indicate that the fiber clustering method produced more reproducible white matter parcellations than the cortical-parcellation-based method.
B Kocev, Horst K Hahn, L Linsend, William III M Wells, and Ron Kikinis. 3/2019. “Uncertainty-aware Asynchronous Scattered Motion Interpolation using Gaussian Process Regression.” Computerized Medical Imaging and Graphics, 72, Pp. 1-12.Abstract
We address the problem of interpolating randomly non-uniformly spatiotemporally scattered uncertain motion measurements, which arises in the context of soft tissue motion estimation. Soft tissue motion estimation is of great interest in the field of image-guided soft-tissue intervention and surgery navigation, because it enables the registration of pre-interventional/pre-operative navigation information on deformable soft-tissue organs. To formally define the measurements as spatiotemporally scattered motion signal samples, we propose a novel motion field representation. To perform the interpolation of the motion measurements in an uncertainty-aware optimal unbiased fashion, we devise a novel Gaussian process (GP) regression model with a non-constant-mean prior and an anisotropic covariance function and show through an extensive evaluation that it outperforms the state-of-the-art GP models that have been deployed previously for similar tasks. The employment of GP regression enables the quantification of uncertainty in the interpolation result, which would allow the amount of uncertainty present in the registered navigation information governing the decisions of the surgeon or intervention specialist to be conveyed.
Eve M Valera, Aihua Cao, Ofer Pasternak, Martha E Shenton, Marek Kubicki, Nikos Makris, and Noor Adra. 3/2019. “White Matter Correlates of Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries in Women Subjected to Intimate-Partner Violence: A Preliminary Study.” J Neurotrauma, 36, 5, Pp. 661-668.Abstract
A large proportion (range of 44-75%) of women who experience intimate-partner violence (IPV) have been shown to sustain repetitive mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs) from their abusers. Further, despite requests for research on TBI-related health outcomes, there are currently only a handful of studies addressing this issue and only one prior imaging study that has investigated the neural correlates of IPV-related TBIs. In response, we examined specific regions of white matter microstructure in 20 women with histories of IPV. Subjects were imaged on a 3-Tesla Siemens Magnetom TrioTim scanner using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging. We investigated the association between a score reflecting number and recency of IPV-related mTBIs and fractional anisotropy (FA) in the posterior and superior corona radiata as well as the posterior thalamic radiation, brain regions shown previously to be involved in mTBI. We also investigated the association between several cognitive measures, namely learning, memory, and cognitive flexibility, and FA in the white matter regions of interest. We report a negative correlation between the brain injury score and FA in regions of the posterior and superior corona radiata. We failed to find an association between our cognitive measures and FA in these regions, but the interpretation of these results remains inconclusive due to possible power issues. Overall, these data build upon the small but growing literature demonstrating potential consequences of mTBIs for women experiencing IPV, and further underscore the urgent need for larger and more comprehensive studies in this area.
Alex V Nguyen, Andras Lasso, Hannah H Nam, Jennifer Faerber, Ahmed H Aly, Alison M Pouch, Adam B Scanlan, Francis X McGowan, Laura Mercer-Rosa, Meryl S Cohen, John Simpson, Gabor Fichtinger, and Matthew A Jolley. 2/2019. “Dynamic Three-Dimensional Geometry of the Tricuspid Valve Annulus in Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome with a Fontan Circulation.” J Am Soc Echocardiogr.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Tricuspid regurgitation (TR) is a significant contributor to morbidity and mortality in patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The goal of this study was to characterize the dynamic annular motion of the tricuspid valve in patients with HLHS with a Fontan circulation and assess the relation to tricuspid valve function. METHODS: Tricuspid annuli of 48 patients with HLHS with a Fontan circulation were modeled at end-diastole, mid-systole, end-systole, and mid-diastole using transthoracic three-dimensional echocardiography and custom code in 3D Slicer. The angle of the anterior papillary muscle (APM) relative to the annular plane in each systolic phase was also measured. RESULTS: Imaging was performed 5.0 years (interquartile range, 2-11 years) after Fontan operation. The tricuspid annulus varies in shape significantly throughout the cardiac cycle, changing in sphericity (P < .001) but not in annular height or bending angle. In univariate modeling, patients with significant TR had larger changes in septolateral diameter, lateral quadrant area, and posterior quadrant area (P < .05 for all) as well as lower (more laterally directed) APM angles (P < .001) than patients with mild or less TR. In multivariate modeling, a 1 mm/(body surface area) increase in the maximum change in septolateral diameter was associated with a 1.7-fold increase in having moderate or greater TR, while a 10° decrease in APM angle at mid-systole was associated with an almost 2.5-fold increase in moderate or greater TR (P ≤ .01 for all). CONCLUSIONS: The tricuspid annulus in patients with HLHS with a Fontan circulation changes in shape significantly throughout the cardiac cycle but remains relatively planar. Increased change in septolateral diameter and decreased APM angle are strongly associated with the presence of TR. These findings may inform annuloplasty methods and subvalvular interventions in these complex patients.
Maria Angelique Di Biase, Fan Zhang, Amanda Lyall, Marek Kubicki, René CW Mandl, Iris E Sommer, and Ofer Pasternak. 2/2019. “Neuroimaging Auditory Verbal Hallucinations in Schizophrenia Patient and Healthy Populations.” Psychol Med, Pp. 1-10.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) are a cardinal feature of schizophrenia, but they can also appear in otherwise healthy individuals. Imaging studies implicate language networks in the generation of AVH; however, it remains unclear if alterations reflect biologic substrates of AVH, irrespective of diagnostic status, age, or illness-related factors. We applied multimodal imaging to identify AVH-specific pathology, evidenced by overlapping gray or white matter deficits between schizophrenia patients and healthy voice-hearers. METHODS: Diffusion-weighted and T1-weighted magnetic resonance images were acquired in 35 schizophrenia patients with AVH (SCZ-AVH), 32 healthy voice-hearers (H-AVH), and 40 age- and sex-matched controls without AVH. White matter fractional anisotropy (FA) and gray matter thickness (GMT) were computed for each region comprising ICBM-DTI and Desikan-Killiany atlases, respectively. Regions were tested for significant alterations affecting both SCZ-AVH and H-AVH groups, relative to controls. RESULTS: Compared with controls, the SCZ-AVH showed widespread FA and GMT reductions; but no significant differences emerged between H-AVH and control groups. While no overlapping pathology appeared in the overall study groups, younger (<40 years) H-AVH and SCZ-AVH subjects displayed overlapping FA deficits across four regions (p < 0.05): the genu and splenium of the corpus callosum, as well as the anterior limbs of the internal capsule. Analyzing these regions with free-water imaging ascribed overlapping FA abnormalities to tissue-specific anisotropy changes. CONCLUSIONS: We identified white matter pathology associated with the presence of AVH, independent of diagnostic status. However, commonalities were constrained to younger and more homogenous groups, after reducing pathologic variance associated with advancing age and chronicity effects.
Matthew A Jolley, Andras Lasso, Hannah H Nam, Patrick V Dinh, Adam B Scanlan, Alex V Nguyen, Anna Ilina, Brian Morray, Andrew C Glatz, Francis X McGowan, Kevin Whitehead, Yoav Dori, Joseph H Gorman, Robert C Gorman, Gabor Fichtinger, and Matthew J Gillespie. 2/2019. “Toward Predictive Modeling of Catheter-based Pulmonary Valve Replacement into Native Right Ventricular Outflow Tracts.” Catheter Cardiovasc Interv, 93, 3, Pp. E143-E152.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Pulmonary insufficiency is a consequence of transannular patch repair in Tetralogy of Fallot (ToF) leading to late morbidity and mortality. Transcatheter native outflow tract pulmonary valve replacement has become a reality. However, predicting a secure, atraumatic implantation of a catheter-based device remains a significant challenge due to the complex and dynamic nature of the right ventricular outflow tract (RVOT). We sought to quantify the differences in compression and volume for actual implants, and those predicted by pre-implant modeling. METHODS: We used custom software to interactively place virtual transcatheter pulmonary valves (TPVs) into RVOT models created from pre-implant and post Harmony valve implant CT scans of 5 ovine surgical models of TOF to quantify and visualize device volume and compression. RESULTS: Virtual device placement visually mimicked actual device placement and allowed for quantification of device volume and radius. On average, simulated proximal and distal device volumes and compression did not vary statistically throughout the cardiac cycle (P = 0.11) but assessment was limited by small sample size. In comparison to actual implants, there was no significant pairwise difference in the proximal third of the device (P > 0.80), but the simulated distal device volume was significantly underestimated relative to actual device implant volume (P = 0.06). CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that pre-implant modeling which assumes a rigid vessel wall may not accurately predict the degree of distal RVOT expansion following actual device placement. We suggest the potential for virtual modeling of TPVR to be a useful adjunct to procedural planning, but further development is needed.
Ashwati Vipin, Kwun Kei Ng, Fang Ji, Hee Youn Shim, Joseph KW Lim, Ofer Pasternak, Juan Helen Zhou, and Juan Helen Zhou. 1/2019. “Amyloid Burden Accelerates White Matter Degradation in Cognitively Normal Elderly Individuals.” Hum Brain Mapp.Abstract
Alterations in parietal and temporal white matter microstructure derived from diffusion tensor imaging occur in preclinical and clinical Alzheimer's disease. Amyloid beta (Aβ) deposition and such white matter alterations are two pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. However, the relationship between these pathologies is not yet understood, partly since conventional diffusion MRI methods cannot distinguish between cellular and extracellular processes. Thus, we studied Aβ-associated longitudinal diffusion MRI changes in Aβ-positive (N = 21) and Aβ-negative (N = 51) cognitively normal elderly obtained from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative dataset using linear mixed models. Aβ-positivity was based on Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative amyloid-PET recommendations using a standardized uptake value ratio cut-off of 1.11. We used free-water imaging to distinguish cellular and extracellular changes. We found that Aβ-positive subjects had increased baseline right uncinate fasciculus free-water fraction (FW), associated with worse baseline Alzheimer's disease assessment scale scores. Furthermore, Aβ-positive subjects showed faster decrease in fractional anisotropy (FW-corrected) in the right uncinate fasciculus and faster age-dependent right inferior longitudinal fasciculus FW increases over time. Right inferior longitudinal fasciculus FW increases were associated with greater memory decline. Importantly, these results remained significant after controlling for gray and white matter volume and hippocampal volume. This is the first study to illustrate the influence of Aβ burden on early longitudinal (in addition to baseline) white matter changes in cognitively normal elderly individuals at-risk of Alzheimer's disease, thus underscoring the importance of longitudinal studies in assessing microstructural alterations in individuals at risk of Alzheimer's disease prior to symptoms onset.
2018
Jie Luo, Sarah Frisken, Ines Machado, Miaomiao Zhang, Steve Pieper, Polina Golland, Matthew Toews, Prashin Unadkat, Alireza Sedghi, Haoyin Zhou, Alireza Mehrtash, Frank Preiswerk, Cheng-Chieh Cheng, Alexandra Golby, Masashi Sugiyama, and William M Wells. 12/2018. “Using the Variogram for Vector Outlier Screening: Application to Feature-based Image Registration.” Int J Comput Assist Radiol Surg, 13, 12, Pp. 1871-80.Abstract
PURPOSE: Matching points that are derived from features or landmarks in image data is a key step in some medical imaging applications. Since most robust point matching algorithms claim to be able to deal with outliers, users may place high confidence in the matching result and use it without further examination. However, for tasks such as feature-based registration in image-guided neurosurgery, even a few mismatches, in the form of invalid displacement vectors, could cause serious consequences. As a result, having an effective tool by which operators can manually screen all matches for outliers could substantially benefit the outcome of those applications. METHODS: We introduce a novel variogram-based outlier screening method for vectors. The variogram is a powerful geostatistical tool for characterizing the spatial dependence of stochastic processes. Since the spatial correlation of invalid displacement vectors, which are considered as vector outliers, tends to behave differently than normal displacement vectors, they can be efficiently identified on the variogram. RESULTS: We validate the proposed method on 9 sets of clinically acquired ultrasound data. In the experiment, potential outliers are flagged on the variogram by one operator and further evaluated by 8 experienced medical imaging researchers. The matching quality of those potential outliers is approximately 1.5 lower, on a scale from 1 (bad) to 5 (good), than valid displacement vectors. CONCLUSION: The variogram is a simple yet informative tool. While being used extensively in geostatistical analysis, it has not received enough attention in the medical imaging field. We believe there is a good deal of potential for clinically applying the proposed outlier screening method. By way of this paper, we also expect researchers to find variogram useful in other medical applications that involve motion vectors analyses.
Ofer Pasternak, Sinead Kelly, Valerie J Sydnor, and Martha E Shenton. 11/2018. “Advances in Microstructural Diffusion Neuroimaging for Psychiatric Disorders.” Neuroimage, 182, Pp. 259-82.Abstract
Understanding the neuropathological underpinnings of mental disorders such as schizophrenia, major depression, and bipolar disorder is an essential step towards the development of targeted treatments. Diffusion MRI studies utilizing the diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) model have been extremely successful to date in identifying microstructural brain abnormalities in individuals suffering from mental illness, especially in regions of white matter, although identified abnormalities have been biologically non-specific. Building on DTI's success, in recent years more advanced diffusion MRI methods have been developed and applied to the study of psychiatric populations, with the aim of offering increased sensitivity to subtle neurological abnormalities, as well as improved specificity to candidate pathologies such as demyelination and neuroinflammation. These advanced methods, however, usually come at the cost of prolonged imaging sequences or reduced signal to noise, and they are more difficult to evaluate compared with the more simplified approach taken by the now common DTI model. To date, a limited number of advanced diffusion MRI methods have been employed to study schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder populations. In this review we survey these studies, compare findings across diverse methods, discuss the main benefits and limitations of the different methods, and assess the extent to which the application of more advanced diffusion imaging approaches has led to novel and transformative information with regards to our ability to better understand the etiology and pathology of mental disorders.
Fan Zhang, Ye Wu, Isaiah Norton, Laura Rigolo, Yogesh Rathi, Nikos Makris, and Lauren J O'Donnell. 11/2018. “An Anatomically Curated Fiber Clustering White Matter Atlas for Consistent White Matter Tract Parcellation across the Lifespan .” Neuroimage, 179, Pp. 429-47.Abstract
This work presents an anatomically curated white matter atlas to enable consistent white matter tract parcellation across different populations. Leveraging a well-established computational pipeline for fiber clustering, we create a tract-based white matter atlas including information from 100 subjects. A novel anatomical annotation method is proposed that leverages population-based brain anatomical information and expert neuroanatomical knowledge to annotate and categorize the fiber clusters. A total of 256 white matter structures are annotated in the proposed atlas, which provides one of the most comprehensive tract-based white matter atlases covering the entire brain to date. These structures are composed of 58 deep white matter tracts including major long range association and projection tracts, commissural tracts, and tracts related to the brainstem and cerebellar connections, plus 198 short and medium range superficial fiber clusters organized into 16 categories according to the brain lobes they connect. Potential false positive connections are annotated in the atlas to enable their exclusion from analysis or visualization. In addition, the proposed atlas allows for a whole brain white matter parcellation into 800 fiber clusters to enable whole brain connectivity analyses. The atlas and related computational tools are open-source and publicly available. We evaluate the proposed atlas using a testing dataset of 584 diffusion MRI scans from multiple independently acquired populations, across genders, the lifespan (1 day-82 years), and different health conditions (healthy control, neuropsychiatric disorders, and brain tumor patients). Experimental results show successful white matter parcellation across subjects from different populations acquired on multiple scanners, irrespective of age, gender or disease indications. Over 99% of the fiber tracts annotated in the atlas were detected in all subjects on average. One advantage in terms of robustness is that the tract-based pipeline does not require any cortical or subcortical segmentations, which can have limited success in young children and patients with brain tumors or other structural lesions. We believe this is the first demonstration of consistent automated white matter tract parcellation across the full lifespan from birth to advanced age.
Markus D Herrmann, David A Clunie, Andriy Fedorov, Sean W Doyle, Steven Pieper, Veronica Klepeis, Long P Le, George L Mutter, David S Milstone, Thomas J Schultz, Ron Kikinis, Gopal K Kotecha, David H Hwang, Katherine P Andriole, John A Iafrate, James A Brink, Giles W Boland, Keith J Dreyer, Mark Michalski, Jeffrey A Golden, David N Louis, and Jochen K Lennerz. 11/2018. “Implementing the DICOM Standard for Digital Pathology.” J Pathol Inform, 9, Pp. 37.Abstract
Background: Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) is the standard for the representation, storage, and communication of medical images and related information. A DICOM file format and communication protocol for pathology have been defined; however, adoption by vendors and in the field is pending. Here, we implemented the essential aspects of the standard and assessed its capabilities and limitations in a multisite, multivendor healthcare network. Methods: We selected relevant DICOM attributes, developed a program that extracts pixel data and pixel-related metadata, integrated patient and specimen-related metadata, populated and encoded DICOM attributes, and stored DICOM files. We generated the files using image data from four vendor-specific image file formats and clinical metadata from two departments with different laboratory information systems. We validated the generated DICOM files using recognized DICOM validation tools and measured encoding, storage, and access efficiency for three image compression methods. Finally, we evaluated storing, querying, and retrieving data over the web using existing DICOM archive software. Results: Whole slide image data can be encoded together with relevant patient and specimen-related metadata as DICOM objects. These objects can be accessed efficiently from files or through RESTful web services using existing software implementations. Performance measurements show that the choice of image compression method has a major impact on data access efficiency. For lossy compression, JPEG achieves the fastest compression/decompression rates. For lossless compression, JPEG-LS significantly outperforms JPEG 2000 with respect to data encoding and decoding speed. Conclusion: Implementation of DICOM allows efficient access to image data as well as associated metadata. By leveraging a wealth of existing infrastructure solutions, the use of DICOM facilitates enterprise integration and data exchange for digital pathology.
Ye Wu, Fan Zhang, Nikos Makris, Yuping Ning, Isaiah Norton, Shenglin She, Hongjun Peng, Yogesh Rathi, Yuanjing Feng, Huawang Wu, and Lauren J O'Donnell. 11/2018. “Investigation into Local White Matter Abnormality in Emotional Processing and Sensorimotor Areas using an Automatically Annotated Fiber Clustering in Major Depressive Disorder.” Neuroimage, 181, Pp. 16-29.Abstract
This work presents an automatically annotated fiber cluster (AAFC) method to enable identification of anatomically meaningful white matter structures from the whole brain tractography. The proposed method consists of 1) a study-specific whole brain white matter parcellation using a well-established data-driven groupwise fiber clustering pipeline to segment tractography into multiple fiber clusters, and 2) a novel cluster annotation method to automatically assign an anatomical tract annotation to each fiber cluster by employing cortical parcellation information across multiple subjects. The novelty of the AAFC method is that it leverages group-wise information about the fiber clusters, including their fiber geometry and cortical terminations, to compute a tract anatomical label for each cluster in an automated fashion. We demonstrate the proposed AAFC method in an application of investigating white matter abnormality in emotional processing and sensorimotor areas in major depressive disorder (MDD). Seven tracts of interest related to emotional processing and sensorimotor functions are automatically identified using the proposed AAFC method as well as a comparable method that uses a cortical parcellation alone. Experimental results indicate that our proposed method is more consistent in identifying the tracts across subjects and across hemispheres in terms of the number of fibers. In addition, we perform a between-group statistical analysis in 31 MDD patients and 62 healthy subjects on the identified tracts using our AAFC method. We find statistical differences in diffusion measures in local regions within a fiber tract (e.g. 4 fiber clusters within the identified left hemisphere cingulum bundle (consisting of 14 clusters) are significantly different between the two groups), suggesting the ability of our method in identifying potential abnormality specific to subdivisions of a white matter structure.
Jordan A Chad, Ofer Pasternak, David H Salat, and Jean J Chen. 11/2018. “Re-examining Age-related Differences in White Matter Microstructure with Free-water Corrected Diffusion Tensor Imaging.” Neurobiol Aging, 71, Pp. 161-70.Abstract
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has been used extensively to investigate white matter (WM) microstructural changes during healthy adult aging. However, WM fibers are known to shrink throughout the lifespan, leading to larger interstitial spaces with age. This could allow more extracellular free water molecules to bias DTI metrics, which are relied upon to provide WM microstructural information. Using a cohort of 212 participants, we demonstrate that WM microstructural changes in aging are potentially less pronounced than previously reported once the free water compartment is eliminated. After free water elimination, DTI parameters show age-related differences that match histological evidence of myelin degradation and debris accumulation. The fraction of free water is further shown to associate better with age than any of the conventional DTI parameters. Our findings suggest that DTI analyses involving free water are likely to yield novel insight into retrospective re-analysis of data and to answer new questions in ongoing DTI studies of brain aging.
Vincent Koppelmans, Jessica M Scott, Meghan E Downs, Kaitlin E Cassady, Peng Yuan, Ofer Pasternak, Scott J Wood, Yiri E De Dios, Nichole E Gadd, Igor Kofman, Roy Riascos, Patricia A Reuter-Lorenz, Jacob J Bloomberg, Ajitkumar P Mulavara, Lori L Ploutz-Snyder, and Rachael D Seidler. 10/2018. “Exercise Effects on Bed Rest-induced Brain Changes.” PLoS One, 13, 10, Pp. e0205515.Abstract
PURPOSE: Spaceflight negatively affects sensorimotor behavior; exercise mitigates some of these effects. Head down tilt bed rest (HDBR) induces body unloading and fluid shifts, and is often used to investigate spaceflight effects. Here, we examined whether exercise mitigates effects of 70 days HDBR on the brain and if fitness and brain changes with HDBR are related. METHODS: HDBR subjects were randomized to no-exercise (n = 5) or traditional aerobic and resistance exercise (n = 5). Additionally, a flywheel exercise group was included (n = 8). Exercise protocols for exercise groups were similar in intensity, therefore these groups were pooled in statistical analyses. Pre and post-HDBR MRI (structure and structural/functional connectivity) and physical fitness measures (lower body strength, muscle cross sectional area, VO2 max, body composition) were collected. Voxel-wise permutation analyses were used to test group differences in brain changes, and their associations with fitness changes. RESULTS: Comparisons of exercisers to controls revealed that exercise led to smaller fitness deterioration with HDBR but did not affect brain volume or connectivity. Group comparisons showed that exercise modulated post-HDBR recovery of brain connectivity in somatosensory regions. Posthoc analysis showed that this was related to functional connectivity decrease with HDBR in non-exercisers but not in exercisers. Correlational analyses between fitness and brain changes showed that fitness decreases were associated with functional connectivity and volumetric increases (all r >.74), potentially reflecting compensation. Modest brain changes or even decreases in connectivity and volume were observed in subjects who maintained or showed small fitness gains. These results did not survive Bonferroni correction, but can be considered meaningful because of the large effect sizes. CONCLUSION: Exercise performed during HDBR mitigates declines in fitness and strength. Associations between fitness and brain connectivity and volume changes, although unadjusted for multiple comparisons in this small sample, suggest that supine exercise reduces compensatory HDBR-induced brain changes.
Yi Hong, Lauren J O'Donnell, Peter Savadjiev, Fan Zhang, Demian Wassermann, Ofer Pasternak, Hans Johnson, Jane Paulsen, Jean-Paul Vonsattel, Nikos Makris, Carl F Westin, and Yogesh Rathi. 10/2018. “Genetic Load Determines Atrophy in Hand Cortico-striatal Pathways in Presymptomatic Huntington's Disease.” Hum Brain Mapp, 39, 10, Pp. 3871-83.Abstract
Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder that causes progressive breakdown of striatal neurons. Standard white matter integrity measures like fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity derived from diffusion tensor imaging were analyzed in prodromal-HD subjects; however, they studied either a whole brain or specific subcortical white matter structures with connections to cortical motor areas. In this work, we propose a novel analysis of a longitudinal cohort of 243 prodromal-HD individuals and 88 healthy controls who underwent two or more diffusion MRI scans as part of the PREDICT-HD study. We separately trace specific white matter fiber tracts connecting the striatum (caudate and putamen) with four cortical regions corresponding to the hand, face, trunk, and leg motor areas. A multi-tensor tractography algorithm with an isotropic volume fraction compartment allows estimating diffusion of fast-moving extra-cellular water in regions containing crossing fibers and provides quantification of a microstructural property related to tissue atrophy. The tissue atrophy rate is separately analyzed in eight cortico-striatal pathways as a function of CAG-repeats (genetic load) by statistically regressing out age effect from our cohort. The results demonstrate a statistically significant increase in isotropic volume fraction (atrophy) bilaterally in hand fiber connections to the putamen with increasing CAG-repeats, which connects the genetic abnormality (CAG-repeats) to an imaging-based microstructural marker of tissue integrity in specific white matter pathways in HD. Isotropic volume fraction measures in eight cortico-striatal pathways are also correlated significantly with total motor scores and diagnostic confidence levels, providing evidence of their relevance to HD clinical presentation.
Andras Lasso, Hannah H Nam, Patrick V Dinh, Csaba Pinter, Jean-Christophe Fillion-Robin, Steve Pieper, Sankhesh Jhaveri, Jean-Baptiste Vimort, Ken Martin, Mark Asselin, Francis X McGowan, Ron Kikinis, Gabor Fichtinger, and Matthew A Jolley. 10/2018. “Interaction with Volume-Rendered Three-Dimensional Echocardiographic Images in Virtual Reality.” J Am Soc Echocardiogr, 31, 10, Pp. 1158-60.
Inês Machado, Matthew Toews, Jie Luo, Prashin Unadkat, Walid Essayed, Elizabeth George, Pedro Teodoro, Herculano Carvalho, Jorge Martins, Polina Golland, Steve Pieper, Sarah Frisken, Alexandra Golby, and William Wells. 10/2018. “Non-rigid Registration of 3D Ultrasound for Neurosurgery using Automatic Feature Detection and Matching.” Int J Comput Assist Radiol Surg, 13, 10, Pp. 1525-38.Abstract
PURPOSE: The brain undergoes significant structural change over the course of neurosurgery, including highly nonlinear deformation and resection. It can be informative to recover the spatial mapping between structures identified in preoperative surgical planning and the intraoperative state of the brain. We present a novel feature-based method for achieving robust, fully automatic deformable registration of intraoperative neurosurgical ultrasound images. METHODS: A sparse set of local image feature correspondences is first estimated between ultrasound image pairs, after which rigid, affine and thin-plate spline models are used to estimate dense mappings throughout the image. Correspondences are derived from 3D features, distinctive generic image patterns that are automatically extracted from 3D ultrasound images and characterized in terms of their geometry (i.e., location, scale, and orientation) and a descriptor of local image appearance. Feature correspondences between ultrasound images are achieved based on a nearest-neighbor descriptor matching and probabilistic voting model similar to the Hough transform. RESULTS: Experiments demonstrate our method on intraoperative ultrasound images acquired before and after opening of the dura mater, during resection and after resection in nine clinical cases. A total of 1620 automatically extracted 3D feature correspondences were manually validated by eleven experts and used to guide the registration. Then, using manually labeled corresponding landmarks in the pre- and post-resection ultrasound images, we show that our feature-based registration reduces the mean target registration error from an initial value of 3.3 to 1.5 mm. CONCLUSIONS: This result demonstrates that the 3D features promise to offer a robust and accurate solution for 3D ultrasound registration and to correct for brain shift in image-guided neurosurgery.

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