Registration performance can significantly deteriorate when image regions do not comply with model assumptions. Robust estimation improves registration accuracy by reducing or ignoring the contribution of voxels with large intensity differences, but existing approaches are limited to monomodal registration. In this work, we propose a robust and inverse-consistent technique for cross-modal, affine image registration. The algorithm is derived from a contextual framework of image registration. The key idea is to use a modality invariant representation of images based on local entropy estimation, and to incorporate a heteroskedastic noise model. This noise model allows us to draw the analogy to iteratively reweighted least squares estimation and to leverage existing weighting functions to account for differences in local information content in multimodal registration. Furthermore, we use the nonparametric windows density estimator to reliably calculate entropy of small image patches. Finally, we derive the Gauss-Newton update and show that it is equivalent to the efficient second-order minimization for the fully symmetric registration approach. We illustrate excellent performance of the proposed methods on datasets containing outliers for alignment of brain tumor, full head, and histology images.
Youth football players may incur hundreds of repetitive head impacts (RHI) in one season. Our recent research suggests that exposure to RHI during a critical neurodevelopmental period prior to age 12 may lead to greater later-life mood, behavioral, and cognitive impairments. Here, we examine the relationship between age of first exposure (AFE) to RHI through tackle football and later-life corpus callosum (CC) microstructure using magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Forty retired National Football League (NFL) players, ages 40-65, were matched by age and divided into two groups based on their AFE to tackle football: before age 12 or at age 12 or older. Participants underwent DTI on a 3 Tesla Siemens (TIM-Verio) magnet. The whole CC and five subregions were defined and seeded using deterministic tractography. Dependent measures were fractional anisotropy (FA), trace, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity. Results showed that former NFL players in the AFE <12 group had significantly lower FA in anterior three CC regions and higher radial diffusivity in the most anterior CC region than those in the AFE ≥12 group. This is the first study to find a relationship between AFE to RHI and later-life CC microstructure. These results suggest that incurring RHI during critical periods of CC development may disrupt neurodevelopmental processes, including myelination, resulting in altered CC microstructure.
We propose new methods for automatic segmentation of images based on an atlas of manually labeled scans and contours in the image. First, we introduce a Bayesian framework for creating initial label maps from manually annotated training images. Within this framework, we model various registration- and patch-based segmentation techniques by changing the deformation field prior. Second, we perform contour-driven regression on the created label maps to refine the segmentation. Image contours and image parcellations give rise to non-stationary kernel functions that model the relationship between image locations. Setting the kernel to the covariance function in a Gaussian process establishes a distribution over label maps supported by image structures. Maximum a posteriori estimation of the distribution over label maps conditioned on the outcome of the atlas-based segmentation yields the refined segmentation. We evaluate the segmentation in two clinical applications: the segmentation of parotid glands in head and neck CT scans and the segmentation of the left atrium in cardiac MR angiography images.
The ensemble average diffusion propagator (EAP) obtained from diffusion MRI (dMRI) data captures important structural properties of the underlying tissue. As such, it is imperative to derive an accurate estimate of the EAP from the acquired diffusion data. In this work, we propose a novel method for estimating the EAP by representing the diffusion signal as a linear combination of directional radial basis functions scattered in q-space. In particular, we focus on a special case of anisotropic Gaussian basis functions and derive analytical expressions for the diffusion orientation distribution function (ODF), the return-to-origin probability (RTOP), and mean-squared-displacement (MSD). A significant advantage of the proposed method is that the second and the fourth order moment tensors of the EAP can be computed explicitly. This allows for computing several novel scalar indices (from the moment tensors) such as mean-fourth-order-displacement (MFD) and generalized kurtosis (GK)-which is a generalization of the mean kurtosis measure used in diffusion kurtosis imaging. Additionally, we also propose novel scalar indices computed from the signal in q-space, called the q-space mean-squared-displacement (QMSD) and the q-space mean-fourth-order-displacement (QMFD), which are sensitive to short diffusion time scales. We validate our method extensively on data obtained from a physical phantom with known crossing angle as well as on in-vivo human brain data. Our experiments demonstrate the robustness of our method for different combinations of b-values and number of gradient directions.
We present a generative probabilistic approach to discovery of disease subtypes determined by the genetic variants. In many diseases, multiple types of pathology may present simultaneously in a patient, making quantification of the disease challenging. Our method seeks common co-occurring image and genetic patterns in a population as a way to model these two different data types jointly. We assume that each patient is a mixture of multiple disease subtypes and use the joint generative model of image and genetic markers to identify disease subtypes guided by known genetic influences. Our model is based on a variant of the so-called topic models that uncover the latent structure in a collection of data. We derive an efficient variational inference algorithm to extract patterns of co-occurrence and to quantify the presence of heterogeneous disease processes in each patient. We evaluate the method on simulated data and illustrate its use in the context of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) to characterize the relationship between image and genetic signatures of COPD subtypes in a large patient cohort.
Cellular interactions can be modeled as complex dynamical systems represented by weighted graphs. The functionality of such networks, including measures of robustness, reliability, performance, and efficiency, are intrinsically tied to the topology and geometry of the underlying graph. Utilizing recently proposed geometric notions of curvature on weighted graphs, we investigate the features of gene co-expression networks derived from large-scale genomic studies of cancer. We find that the curvature of these networks reliably distinguishes between cancer and normal samples, with cancer networks exhibiting higher curvature than their normal counterparts. We establish a quantitative relationship between our findings and prior investigations of network entropy. Furthermore, we demonstrate how our approach yields additional, non-trivial pair-wise (i.e. gene-gene) interactions which may be disrupted in cancer samples. The mathematical formulation of our approach yields an exact solution to calculating pair-wise changes in curvature which was computationally infeasible using prior methods. As such, our findings lay the foundation for an analytical approach to studying complex biological networks.
We introduce a nuclear magnetic resonance method for quantifying the shape of axially symmetric microscopic diffusion tensors in terms of a new diffusion anisotropy metric, DΔ, which has unique values for oblate, spherical, and prolate tensor shapes. The pulse sequence includes a series of equal-amplitude magnetic field gradient pulse pairs, the directions of which are tailored to give an axially symmetric diffusion-encoding tensor b with variable anisotropy bΔ. Averaging of data acquired for a range of orientations of the symmetry axis of the tensor b renders the method insensitive to the orientation distribution function of the microscopic diffusion tensors. Proof-of-principle experiments are performed on water in polydomain lyotropic liquid crystals with geometries that give rise to microscopic diffusion tensors with oblate, spherical, and prolate shapes. The method could be useful for characterizing the geometry of fluid-filled compartments in porous solids, soft matter, and biological tissues.
Whole-body computed tomography (CT) image registration is important for cancer diagnosis, therapy planning and treatment. Such registration requires accounting for large differences between source and target images caused by deformations of soft organs/tissues and articulated motion of skeletal structures. The registration algorithms relying solely on image processing methods exhibit deficiencies in accounting for such deformations and motion. We propose to predict the deformations and movements of body organs/tissues and skeletal structures for whole-body CT image registration using patient-specific non-linear biomechanical modelling. Unlike the conventional biomechanical modelling, our approach for building the biomechanical models does not require time-consuming segmentation of CT scans to divide the whole body into non-overlapping constituents with different material properties. Instead, a Fuzzy C-Means (FCM) algorithm is used for tissue classification to assign the constitutive properties automatically at integration points of the computation grid. We use only very simple segmentation of the spine when determining vertebrae displacements to define loading for biomechanical models. We demonstrate the feasibility and accuracy of our approach on CT images of seven patients suffering from cancer and aortic disease. The results confirm that accurate whole-body CT image registration can be achieved using a patient-specific non-linear biomechanical model constructed without time-consuming segmentation of the whole-body images.
BACKGROUND: Diffusion imaging tractography is increasingly used to trace critical fiber tracts in brain tumor patients to reduce the risk of post-operative neurological deficit. However, the effects of peritumoral edema pose a challenge to conventional tractography using the standard diffusion tensor model. The aim of this study was to present a novel technique using a two-tensor unscented Kalman filter (UKF) algorithm to track the arcuate fasciculus (AF) in brain tumor patients with peritumoral edema.
METHODS: Ten right-handed patients with left-sided brain tumors in the vicinity of language-related cortex and evidence of significant peritumoral edema were retrospectively selected for the study. All patients underwent 3-Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) including a diffusion-weighted dataset with 31 directions. Fiber tractography was performed using both single-tensor streamline and two-tensor UKF tractography. A two-regions-of-interest approach was applied to perform the delineation of the AF. Results from the two different tractography algorithms were compared visually and quantitatively.
RESULTS: Using single-tensor streamline tractography, the AF appeared disrupted in four patients and contained few fibers in the remaining six patients. Two-tensor UKF tractography delineated an AF that traversed edematous brain areas in all patients. The volume of the AF was significantly larger on two-tensor UKF than on single-tensor streamline tractography (p < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: Two-tensor UKF tractography provides the ability to trace a larger volume AF than single-tensor streamline tractography in the setting of peritumoral edema in brain tumor patients.
To enhance neuro-navigation, high quality pre-operative images must be registered onto intra-operative configuration of the brain. Therefore evaluation of the degree to which structures may remain misaligned after registration is critically important. We consider two Hausdorff Distance (HD)-based evaluation approaches: the edge-based HD (EBHD) metric and the Robust HD (RHD) metric as well as various commonly used intensity-based similarity metrics such as Mutual Information (MI), Normalised Mutual Information (NMI), Entropy Correlation Coefficient (ECC), Kullback-Leibler Distance (KLD) and Correlation Ratio (CR). We conducted the evaluation by applying known deformations to simple sample images and real cases of brain shift. We conclude that the intensity-based similarity metrics such as MI, NMI, ECC, KLD and CR do not correlate well with actual alignment errors, and hence are not useful for assessing misalignment. On the contrary, the EBHD and the RHD metrics correlated well with actual alignment errors; however, they have been found to underestimate the actual misalignment. We also note that it is beneficial to present HD results as a percentile-HD curve rather than a single number such as the 95-percentile HD. Percentile-HD curves present the full range of alignment errors and also facilitate the comparison of results obtained using different approaches. Furthermore, the qualities that should be possessed by an ideal evaluation metric were highlighted. Future studies could focus on developing such an evaluation metric.
INTRODUCTION: The medial orbitofrontal cortex (mOFC) and rostral part of anterior cingulate cortex (rACC) have been suggested to be involved in the neural network of salience and emotional processing, and associated with specific clinical symptoms in schizophrenia. Considering the schizophrenia dysconnectivity hypothesis, the connectivity abnormalities between mOFC and rACC might be associated with clinical characteristics in first episode schizophrenia patients (FESZ). METHODS: After parcellating mOFC into the anterior and posterior part, diffusion properties of the mOFC-rACC white matter connections for 21 patients with FESZ and 21 healthy controls (HCs) were examined using stochastic tractography, one of the most effective Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) methods for examining tracts between adjacent gray matter (GM) regions. RESULTS: Fractional anisotropy (FA) reductions were observed in bilateral posterior, but not anterior mOFC-rACC connections (left: p < .0001; right: p < .0001) in FESZ compared to HCs. In addition, reduced FA in the left posterior mOFC-rACC connection was associated with more severe anhedonia-asociality (rho = -.633, p = .006) and total score (rho = -.520, p = .032) in the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS); reduced FA in the right posterior mOFC-rACC connection was associated with more severe affective flattening (rho = -.644, p = .005), total score (rho = -.535, p = .027) in SANS, hallucinations (rho = -.551, p = .018), delusions (rho = -.632, p = .005) and total score (rho = -.721, p = .001) in the Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms (SAPS) in FESZ. CONCLUSIONS: The observed white matter abnormalities within the connections between mOFC and rACC might be associated with the psychopathology of the early stage of schizophrenia.
We present an innovative framework for reconstructing high-spatial-resolution diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) from multiple low-resolution (LR) images. Our approach combines the twin concepts of compressed sensing (CS) and classical super-resolution to reduce acquisition time while increasing spatial resolution. We use subpixel-shifted LR images with down-sampled and non-overlapping diffusion directions to reduce acquisition time. The diffusion signal in the high resolution (HR) image is represented in a sparsifying basis of spherical ridgelets to model complex fiber orientations with reduced number of measurements. The HR image is obtained as the solution of a convex optimization problem which can be solved using the proposed algorithm based on the alternating direction method of multipliers (ADMM). We qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate the performance of our method on two sets of in-vivo human brain data and show its effectiveness in accurately recovering very high resolution diffusion images.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractography reconstruction of white matter pathways can help guide brain tumor resection. However, DTI tracts are complex mathematical objects and the validity of tractography-derived information in clinical settings has yet to be fully established. To address this issue, we initiated the DTI Challenge, an international working group of clinicians and scientists whose goal was to provide standardized evaluation of tractography methods for neurosurgery. The purpose of this empirical study was to evaluate different tractography techniques in the first DTI Challenge workshop. METHODS: Eight international teams from leading institutions reconstructed the pyramidal tract in four neurosurgical cases presenting with a glioma near the motor cortex. Tractography methods included deterministic, probabilistic, filtered, and global approaches. Standardized evaluation of the tracts consisted in the qualitative review of the pyramidal pathways by a panel of neurosurgeons and DTI experts and the quantitative evaluation of the degree of agreement among methods. RESULTS: The evaluation of tractography reconstructions showed a great interalgorithm variability. Although most methods found projections of the pyramidal tract from the medial portion of the motor strip, only a few algorithms could trace the lateral projections from the hand, face, and tongue area. In addition, the structure of disagreement among methods was similar across hemispheres despite the anatomical distortions caused by pathological tissues. CONCLUSIONS: The DTI Challenge provides a benchmark for the standardized evaluation of tractography methods on neurosurgical data. This study suggests that there are still limitations to the clinical use of tractography for neurosurgical decision making.
This paper proposes an inference method well-suited to large sets of medical images. The method is based upon a framework where distinctive 3D scale-invariant features are indexed efficiently to identify approximate nearest-neighbor (NN) feature matches-in O (log N) computational complexity in the number of images N. It thus scales well to large data sets, in contrast to methods based on pair-wise image registration or feature matching requiring O(N) complexity. Our theoretical contribution is a density estimator based on a generative model that generalizes kernel density estimation and K-nearest neighbor (KNN) methods.. The estimator can be used for on-the-fly queries, without requiring explicit parametric models or an off-line training phase. The method is validated on a large multi-site data set of 95,000,000 features extracted from 19,000 lung CT scans. Subject-level classification identifies all images of the same subjects across the entire data set despite deformation due to breathing state, including unintentional duplicate scans. State-of-the-art performance is achieved in predicting chronic pulmonary obstructive disorder (COPD) severity across the 5-category GOLD clinical rating, with an accuracy of 89% if both exact and one-off predictions are considered correct.
High computational costs of manifold learning prohibit its application for large datasets. A common strategy to overcome this problem is to perform dimensionality reduction on selected landmarks and to successively embed the entire dataset with the Nyström method. The two main challenges that arise are: (i) the landmarks selected in non-Euclidean geometries must result in a low reconstruction error, (ii) the graph constructed from sparsely sampled landmarks must approximate the manifold well. We propose to sample the landmarks from determinantal distributions on non-Euclidean spaces. Since current determinantal sampling algorithms have the same complexity as those for manifold learning, we present an efficient approximation with linear complexity. Further, we recover the local geometry after the sparsification by assigning each landmark a local covariance matrix, estimated from the original point set. The resulting neighborhood selection .based on the Bhattacharyya distance improves the embedding of sparsely sampled manifolds. Our experiments show a significant performance improvement compared to state-of-the-art landmark selection techniques on synthetic and medical data.
The analysis of the connectome of the human brain provides key insight into the brain's organisation and function, and its evolution in disease or ageing. Parcellation of the cortical surface into distinct regions in terms of structural connectivity is an essential step that can enable such analysis. The estimation of a stable connectome across a population of healthy subjects requires the estimation of a groupwise parcellation that can capture the variability of the connectome across the population. This problem has solely been addressed in the literature via averaging of connectivity profiles or finding correspondences between individual parcellations a posteriori. In this paper, we propose a groupwise parcellation method of the cortex based on diffusion MR images (dMRI). We borrow ideas from the area of cosegmentation in computer vision and directly estimate a consistent parcellation across different subjects and scales through a spectral clustering approach. The parcellation is driven by the tractography connectivity profiles, and information between subjects and across scales. Promising qualitative and quantitative results on a sizeable data-set demonstrate the strong potential of the method.
Volumes reconstructed from tracked planar ultrasound images often contain regions where no information was recorded. Existing interpolation methods introduce image artifacts and tend to be slow in filling large missing regions. Our goal was to develop a computationally efficient method that fills missing regions while adequately preserving image features. We use directional sticks to interpolate between pairs of known opposing voxels in nearby images. We tested our method on 30 volumetric ultrasound scans acquired from human subjects, and compared its performance to that of other published hole-filling methods. Reconstruction accuracy, fidelity, and time were improved compared with other methods.
In multiatlas segmentation, one typically registers several atlases to the novel image, and their respective segmented label images are transformed and fused to form the final segmentation. In this work, we provide a new dynamical system perspective for multiatlas segmentation, inspired by the following fact: The transformation that aligns the current atlas to the novel image can be not only computed by direct registration but also inferred from the transformation that aligns the previous atlas to the image together with the transformation between the two atlases. This process is similar to the global positioning system on a vehicle, which gets position by inquiring from the satellite and by employing the previous location and velocity-neither answer in isolation being perfect. To solve this problem, a dynamical system scheme is crucial to combine the two pieces of information; for example, a Kalman filtering scheme is used. Accordingly, in this work, a Kalman multiatlas segmentation is proposed to stabilize the global/affine registration step. The contributions of this work are twofold. First, it provides a new dynamical systematic perspective for standard independent multiatlas registrations, and it is solved by Kalman filtering. Second, with very little extra computation, it can be combined with most existing multiatlas segmentation schemes for better registration/segmentation accuracy.
The capacity to identify the unique functional architecture of an individual's brain is a crucial step toward personalized medicine and understanding the neural basis of variation in human cognition and behavior. Here we developed a cortical parcellation approach to accurately map functional organization at the individual level using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). A population-based functional atlas and a map of inter-individual variability were employed to guide the iterative search for functional networks in individual subjects. Functional networks mapped by this approach were highly reproducible within subjects and effectively captured the variability across subjects, including individual differences in brain lateralization. The algorithm performed well across different subject populations and data types, including task fMRI data. The approach was then validated by invasive cortical stimulation mapping in surgical patients, suggesting potential for use in clinical applications.
Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) is the modality of choice for investigating in-vivo white matter connectivity and neural tissue architecture of the brain. The diffusion-weighted signal in dMRI reflects the diffusivity of water molecules in brain tissue and can be utilized to produce image-based biomarkers for clinical research. Due to the constraints on scanning time, a limited number of measurements can be acquired within a clinically feasible scan time. In order to reconstruct the dMRI signal from a discrete set of measurements, a large number of algorithms have been proposed in recent years in conjunction with varying sampling schemes, i.e., with varying b-values and gradient directions. Thus, it is imperative to compare the performance of these reconstruction methods on a single data set to provide appropriate guidelines to neuroscientists on making an informed decision while designing their acquisition protocols. For this purpose, the SPArse Reconstruction Challenge (SPARC) was held along with the workshop on Computational Diffusion MRI (at MICCAI 2014) to validate the performance of multiple reconstruction methods using data acquired from a physical phantom. A total of 16 reconstruction algorithms (9 teams) participated in this community challenge. The goal was to reconstruct single b-value and/or multiple b-value data from a sparse set of measurements. In particular, the aim was to determine an appropriate acquisition protocol (in terms of the number of measurements, b-values) and the analysis method to use for a neuroimaging study. The challenge did not delve on the accuracy of these methods in estimating model specific measures such as fractional anisotropy (FA) or mean diffusivity, but on the accuracy of these methods to fit the data. This paper presents several quantitative results pertaining to each reconstruction algorithm. The conclusions in this paper provide a valuable guideline for choosing a suitable algorithm and the corresponding data-sampling scheme for clinical neuroscience applications.