Wang S, Zhang F, Huang P, Hong H, Jiaerken Y, Yu X, Zhang R, Zeng Q, Zhang Y, Kikinis R, Rathi Y, Makris N, Lou M, Pasternak O, Zhang M, Donnell LJO. Superficial White Matter Microstructure Affects Processing Speed in Cerebral Small Vessel Disease. Hum Brain Mapp 2022;43(17):5310-25.
White matter hyperintensities (WMH) are a typical feature of cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD), which contributes to about 50% of dementias worldwide. Microstructural alterations in deep white matter (DWM) have been widely examined in CSVD. However, little is known about abnormalities in superficial white matter (SWM) and their relevance for processing speed, the main cognitive deficit in CSVD. In 141 CSVD patients, processing speed was assessed using Trail Making Test Part A. White matter abnormalities were assessed by WMH burden (volume on T2-FLAIR) and diffusion MRI measures. SWM imaging measures had a large contribution to processing speed, despite a relatively low SWM WMH burden. Across all imaging measures, SWM free water (FW) had the strongest association with processing speed, followed by SWM mean diffusivity (MD). SWM FW was the only marker to significantly increase between two subgroups with the lowest WMH burdens. When comparing two subgroups with the highest WMH burdens, the involvement of WMH in the SWM was accompanied by significant differences in processing speed and white matter microstructure. Mediation analysis revealed that SWM FW fully mediated the association between WMH volume and processing speed, while no mediation effect of MD or DWM FW was observed. Overall, results suggest that the SWM has an important contribution to processing speed, while SWM FW is a sensitive imaging marker associated with cognition in CSVD. This study extends the current understanding of CSVD-related dysfunction and suggests that the SWM, as an understudied region, can be a potential target for monitoring pathophysiological processes.
Pujol S, Cabeen RP, Yelnik J, François C, Vidal SF, Karachi C, Bardinet E, Cosgrove R, Kikinis R. Somatotopic Organization of Hyperdirect Pathway Projections From the Primary Motor Cortex in the Human Brain. Front Neurol 2022;13:791092.
Background: The subthalamic nucleus (STN) is an effective neurosurgical target to improve motor symptoms in Parkinson s Disease (PD) patients. MR-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) subthalamotomy is being explored as a therapeutic alternative to Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) of the STN. The hyperdirect pathway provides a direct connection between the cortex and the STN and is likely to play a key role in the therapeutic effects of MRgFUS intervention in PD patients. Objective: This study aims to investigate the topography and somatotopy of hyperdirect pathway projections from the primary motor cortex (M1). Methods: We used advanced multi-fiber tractography and high-resolution diffusion MRI data acquired on five subjects of the Human Connectome Project (HCP) to reconstruct hyperdirect pathway projections from M1. Two neuroanatomy experts reviewed the anatomical accuracy of the tracts. We extracted the fascicles arising from the trunk, arm, hand, face and tongue area from the reconstructed pathways. We assessed the variability among subjects based on the fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) of the fibers. We evaluated the spatial arrangement of the different fascicles using the Dice Similarity Coefficient (DSC) of spatial overlap and the centroids of the bundles. Results: We successfully reconstructed hyperdirect pathway projections from M1 in all five subjects. The tracts were in agreement with the expected anatomy. We identified hyperdirect pathway fascicles projecting from the trunk, arm, hand, face and tongue area in all subjects. Tract-derived measurements showed low variability among subjects, and similar distributions of FA and MD values among the fascicles projecting from different M1 areas. We found an anterolateral somatotopic arrangement of the fascicles in the corona radiata, and an average overlap of 0.63 in the internal capsule and 0.65 in the zona incerta. Conclusion: Multi-fiber tractography combined with high-resolution diffusion MRI data enables the identification of the somatotopic organization of the hyperdirect pathway. Our preliminary results suggest that the subdivisions of the hyperdirect pathway projecting from the trunk, arm, hand, face, and tongue motor area are intermixed at the level of the zona incerta and posterior limb of the internal capsule, with a predominantly overlapping topographical organization in both regions. Subject-specific knowledge of the hyperdirect pathway somatotopy could help optimize target definition in MRgFUS intervention.
Berger M, Pirpamer L, Hofer E, Ropele S, Duering M, Gesierich B, Pasternak O, Enzinger C, Schmidt R, Koini M. Free Water Diffusion MRI and Executive Function With a Speed Component in Healthy Aging. Neuroimage 2022;257:119303.
Extracellular free water (FW) increases are suggested to better provide pathophysiological information in brain aging than conventional biomarkers such as fractional anisotropy. The aim of the present study was to determine the relationship between conventional biomarkers, FW in white matter hyperintensities (WMH), FW in normal appearing white matter (NAWM) and in white matter tracts and executive functions (EF) with a speed component in elderly persons. We examined 226 healthy elderly participants (median age 69.83 years, IQR: 56.99-74.42) who underwent brain MRI and neuropsychological examination. FW in WMH and in NAWM as well as FW corrected diffusion metrics and measures derived from conventional MRI (white matter hyperintensities, brain volume, lacunes) were used in partial correlation (adjusted for age) to assess their correlation with EF with a speed component. Random forest analysis was used to assess the relative importance of these variables as determinants. Lastly, linear regression analyses of FW in white matter tracts corrected for risk factors of cognitive and white matter deterioration, were used to examine the role of specific tracts on EF with a speed component, which were then ranked with random forest regression. Partial correlation analyses revealed that almost all imaging metrics showed a significant association with EF with a speed component (r = -0.213 - 0.266). Random forest regression highlighted FW in WMH and in NAWM as most important among all diffusion and structural MRI metrics. The fornix (R2=0.421, p = 0.018) and the corpus callosum (genu (R2 = 0.418, p = 0.021), prefrontal (R2 = 0.416, p = 0.026), premotor (R2 = 0.418, p = 0.021)) were associated with EF with a speed component in tract based regression analyses and had highest variables importance. In a normal aging population FW in WMH and NAWM is more closely related to EF with a speed component than standard DTI and brain structural measures. Higher amounts of FW in the fornix and the frontal part of the corpus callosum leads to deteriorating EF with a speed component.
Zhang F, Wells WM, Donnell LJO. Deep Diffusion MRI Registration (DDMReg): A Deep Learning Method for Diffusion MRI Registration. IEEE Trans Med Imaging 2022;41(6):1454-67.
In this paper, we present a deep learning method, DDMReg, for accurate registration between diffusion MRI (dMRI) datasets. In dMRI registration, the goal is to spatially align brain anatomical structures while ensuring that local fiber orientations remain consistent with the underlying white matter fiber tract anatomy. DDMReg is a novel method that uses joint whole-brain and tract-specific information for dMRI registration. Based on the successful VoxelMorph framework for image registration, we propose a novel registration architecture that leverages not only whole brain information but also tract-specific fiber orientation information. DDMReg is an unsupervised method for deformable registration between pairs of dMRI datasets: it does not require nonlinearly pre-registered training data or the corresponding deformation fields as ground truth. We perform comparisons with four state-of-the-art registration methods on multiple independently acquired datasets from different populations (including teenagers, young and elderly adults) and different imaging protocols and scanners. We evaluate the registration performance by assessing the ability to align anatomically corresponding brain structures and ensure fiber spatial agreement between different subjects after registration. Experimental results show that DDMReg obtains significantly improved registration performance compared to the state-of-the-art methods. Importantly, we demonstrate successful generalization of DDMReg to dMRI data from different populations with varying ages and acquired using different acquisition protocols and different scanners.
Laurent D, Riek J, Sinclair CDJ, Houston P, Roubenoff R, Papanicolaou DA, Nagy A, Pieper S, Yousry TA, Hanna MG, Thornton JS, Machado PM. Longitudinal Changes in MRI Muscle Morphometry and Composition in People With Inclusion Body Myositis. Neurology 2022;99(9):e865-e876.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Limited data suggest that quantitative MRI (qMRI) measures have potential to be used as trial outcome measures in sporadic inclusion body myositis (sIBM) and as a noninvasive assessment tool to study sIBM muscle pathologic processes. Our aim was to evaluate changes in muscle structure and composition using a comprehensive multiparameter set of qMRI measures and to assess construct validity and responsiveness of qMRI measures in people with sIBM.
Bridge CP, Gorman C, Pieper S, Doyle SW, Lennerz JK, Kalpathy-Cramer J, Clunie DA, Fedorov AY, Herrmann MD. Highdicom: a Python Library for Standardized Encoding of Image Annotations and Machine Learning Model Outputs in Pathology and Radiology. J Digit Imaging 2022;35(6):1719-37.
Machine learning (ML) is revolutionizing image-based diagnostics in pathology and radiology. ML models have shown promising results in research settings, but the lack of interoperability between ML systems and enterprise medical imaging systems has been a major barrier for clinical integration and evaluation. The DICOM® standard specifies information object definitions (IODs) and services for the representation and communication of digital images and related information, including image-derived annotations and analysis results. However, the complexity of the standard represents an obstacle for its adoption in the ML community and creates a need for software libraries and tools that simplify working with datasets in DICOM format. Here we present the highdicom library, which provides a high-level application programming interface (API) for the Python programming language that abstracts low-level details of the standard and enables encoding and decoding of image-derived information in DICOM format in a few lines of Python code. The highdicom library leverages NumPy arrays for efficient data representation and ties into the extensive Python ecosystem for image processing and machine learning. Simultaneously, by simplifying creation and parsing of DICOM-compliant files, highdicom achieves interoperability with the medical imaging systems that hold the data used to train and run ML models, and ultimately communicate and store model outputs for clinical use. We demonstrate through experiments with slide microscopy and computed tomography imaging, that, by bridging these two ecosystems, highdicom enables developers and researchers to train and evaluate state-of-the-art ML models in pathology and radiology while remaining compliant with the DICOM standard and interoperable with clinical systems at all stages. To promote standardization of ML research and streamline the ML model development and deployment process, we made the library available free and open-source at .
Irimia A, Ngo V, Chaudhari NN, Zhang F, Joshi SH, Penkova AN, Donnell LJO, Sheikh-Bahaei N, Zheng X, Chui HC. White Matter Degradation Near Cerebral Microbleeds Is Associated With Cognitive Change After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Neurobiol Aging 2022;120:68-80.
To explore how cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) accompanying mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) reflect white matter (WM) degradation and cognitive decline, magnetic resonance images were acquired from 62 mTBI adults (imaged \~7 days and \~6 months post-injury) and 203 matched healthy controls. On average, mTBI participants had a count of 2.7 ± 2.6 traumatic CMBs in WM, located 6.1 ± 4.4 mm from cortex. At \~6-month follow-up, 97% of CMBs were associated with significant reductions (34% ± 11%, q < 0.05) in the fractional anisotropy of WM streamlines within \~1 cm of CMB locations. Male sex and older age were significant risk factors for larger reductions (q < 0.05). For CMBs in the corpus callosum, cingulum bundle, inferior and middle longitudinal fasciculi, fractional anisotropy changes were significantly and positively associated with changes in cognitive functions mediated by these structures (q < 0.05). Our findings distinguish traumatic from non-traumatic CMBs by virtue of surrounding WM alterations and challenge the assumption that traumatic CMBs are neurocognitively silent. Thus, mTBI with CMB findings can be described as a clinical endophenotype warranting longitudinal cognitive assessment.
Turk EA, Stout JN, Feldman HA, Gagoski B, Zhou C, Tamen R, Manhard MK, Adalsteinsson E, Roberts DJ, Golland P, Grant E, Barth WH. Change in T2* Measurements of Placenta and Fetal Organs During Braxton Hicks Contractions. Placenta 2022;128:69-71.
Maternal-placental perfusion can be temporarily compromised by Braxton Hicks (BH) uterine contractions. Although prior studies have employed T2* changes to investigate the effect of BH contractions on placental oxygen, the effect of these contractions on the fetus has not been fully characterized. We investigated the effect of BH contractions on quantitative fetal organ T2* across gestation together with the birth information. We observed a slight but significant decrease in fetal brain and liver T2* during contractions.
Sack J, Nitsch J, Meine H, Kikinis R, Halle M, Rutherford A. Quantitative Analysis of Liver Disease Using MRI-Based Radiomic Features of the Liver and Spleen. J Imaging 2022;8(10):277.
BACKGROUND: Radiomics extracts quantitative image features to identify biomarkers for characterizing disease. Our aim was to characterize the ability of radiomic features extracted from magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of the liver and spleen to detect cirrhosis by comparing features from patients with cirrhosis to those without cirrhosis. METHODS: This retrospective study compared MR-derived radiomic features between patients with cirrhosis undergoing hepatocellular carcinoma screening and patients without cirrhosis undergoing intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm surveillance between 2015 and 2018 using the same imaging protocol. Secondary analyses stratified the cirrhosis cohort by liver disease severity using clinical compensation/decompensation and Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD). RESULTS: Of 167 patients, 90 had cirrhosis with 68.9% compensated and median MELD 8. Combined liver and spleen radiomic features generated an AUC 0.94 for detecting cirrhosis, with shape and texture components contributing more than size. Discrimination of cirrhosis remained high after stratification by liver disease severity. CONCLUSIONS: MR-based liver and spleen radiomic features had high accuracy in identifying cirrhosis, after stratification by clinical compensation/decompensation and MELD. Shape and texture features performed better than size features. These findings will inform radiomic-based applications for cirrhosis diagnosis and severity.
Mayer C, Nägele FL, Petersen M, Frey BM, Hanning U, Pasternak O, Petersen E, Gerloff C, Thomalla G, Cheng B. Free-Water Diffusion MRI Detects Structural Alterations Surrounding White Matter Hyperintensities in the Early Stage of Cerebral Small Vessel Disease. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 2022;42(9):1707-18.
In cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD), both white matter hyperintensities (WMH) of presumed vascular origin and the normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) contain microstructural brain alterations on diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI). Contamination of DWI-derived metrics by extracellular free-water can be corrected with free-water (FW) imaging. We investigated the alterations in FW and FW-corrected fractional anisotropy (FA-t) in WMH and surrounding tissue and their association with cerebrovascular risk factors. We analysed 1,000 MRI datasets from the Hamburg City Health Study. DWI was used to generate FW and FA-t maps. WMH masks were segmented on FLAIR and T1-weighted MRI and dilated repeatedly to create 8 NAWM masks representing increasing distance from WMH. Linear models were applied to compare FW and FA-t across WMH and NAWM masks and in association with cerebrovascular risk. Median age was 64 ± 14 years. FW and FA-t were altered 8 mm and 12 mm beyond WMH, respectively. Smoking was significantly associated with FW in NAWM (p = 0.008) and FA-t in WMH (p = 0.008) and in NAWM (p = 0.003) while diabetes and hypertension were not. Further research is necessary to examine whether FW and FA-t alterations in NAWM are predictors for developing WMH.