We present a fully automatic lung lobe segmentation algorithm that is effective in high resolution computed tomography (CT) datasets in the presence of confounding factors such as incomplete fissures (anatomical structures indicating lobe boundaries), advanced disease states, high body mass index (BMI), and low-dose scanning protocols. In contrast to other algorithms that leverage segmentations of auxiliary structures (esp. vessels and airways), we rely only upon image features indicating fissure locations. We employ a particle system that samples the image domain and provides a set of candidate fissure locations. We follow this stage with maximum a posteriori (MAP) estimation to eliminate poor candidates and then perform a post-processing operation to remove remaining noise particles. We then fit a thin plate spline (TPS) interpolating surface to the fissure particles to form the final lung lobe segmentation. Results indicate that our algorithm performs comparably to pulmonologist-generated lung lobe segmentations on a set of challenging cases.
This article presents a summary of the key-note lecture delivered at Biomechanics 10 Conference held in August 2010 in Warsaw. We present selected topics in the area of mathematical and numerical modelling of the brain biomechanics for neurosurgical simulation and brain image registration. These processes can reasonably be described in purely mechanical terms, such as displacements, strains and stresses and therefore can be analysed using established methods of continuum mechanics. We advocate the use of fully non-linear theory of continuum mechanics. We discuss in some detail modelling geometry, boundary conditions, loading and material properties. We consider numerical problems such as the use of hexahedral and mixed hexahedral-tetrahedral meshes as well as meshless spatial discretisation schemes. We advocate the use of Total Lagrangian Formulation of both finite element and meshless methods together with explicit time-stepping procedures. We support our recommendations and conclusions with an example of brain shift computation for intraoperative image registration.
Automatic or semi-automatic segmentation and tracking of artery trees from computed tomography angiography (CTA) is an important step to improve the diagnosis and treatment of artery diseases, but it still remains a significant challenging problem. In this paper, we present an artery extraction method to address the challenge. The proposed method consists of two steps: (1) a geometric moments based tracking to secure a rough centerline, and (2) a fully automatic generalized cylinder structure-based snake method to refine the centerlines and estimate the radii of the arteries. In this method, a new line direction based on first and second order geometric moments is adopted while both gradient and intensity information are used in the snake model to improve the accuracy. The approach has been evaluated on synthetic images as well as 8 clinical coronary CTA images with 32 coronary arteries. Our method achieves 94.7% overlap tracking ability within an average distance inside the vessel of 0.36 mm.
Frontal-subcortical cognitive and limbic feedback loops modulate higher cognitive functioning. The final step in these feedback loops is the thalamo-cortical projection through the anterior limb of the internal capsule (AL-IC). Using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), we evaluated abnormalities in the AL-IC fiber tract in schizophrenia. Participants comprised 16 chronic schizophrenia patients and 19 male, normal controls, who were group matched for handedness, age, and parental socioeconomic status, and underwent DTI on a 1.5 Tesla GE system. We measured the diffusion indices, fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), radial diffusivity (RD), and axial diffusivity (AD), and manually segmented, based on FA maps, AL-IC volume, normalized for intracranial contents (ICC). The results showed a significant reduction in the ICC-corrected volume of the AL-IC in schizophrenia, but did not show diffusion measure group differences in the AL-IC in FA, MD, RD or AD. In addition, in the schizophrenia patients, AL-IC FA correlated positively with performance on measures of spatial and verbal declarative/episodic memory, and right AL-IC ICC-corrected volume correlated positively with more perseverative responses on the Wisconsin Card Sort Test (WCST). We found a reduction in AL-IC ICC-corrected volume in schizophrenia, without FA, MD, RD or AD group differences, implicating the presence of a structural abnormality in schizophrenia in this subcortical white matter region which contains important cognitive, and limbic feedback pathways that modulate prefrontal cortical function. Despite not demonstrating a group difference in FA, we found that AL-IC FA was a good predictor of spatial and verbal declarative/episodic memory performance in schizophrenia.
Registration uncertainty may be important information to convey to a surgeon when surgical decisions are taken based on registered image data. However, conventional non-rigid registration methods only provide the most likely deformation. In this paper we show how to determine the registration uncertainty, as well as the most likely deformation, by using an elastic Bayesian registration framework that generates a dense posterior distribution on deformations. We model both the likelihood and the elastic prior on deformations with Boltzmann distributions and characterize the posterior with a Markov Chain Monte Carlo algorithm. We introduce methods that summarize the high-dimensional uncertainty information and show how these summaries can be visualized in a meaningful way. Based on a clinical neurosurgical dataset, we demonstrate the importance that uncertainty information could have on neurosurgical decision making.
This work provides a model for tubular structures, and devises an algorithm to automatically extract tubular anatomical structures from medical imagery. Our model fits many anatomical structures in medical imagery, in particular, various fiber bundles in the brain (imaged through diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance (DW-MRI)) such as the cingulum bundle, and blood vessel trees in computed tomography angiograms (CTAs). Extraction of the cingulum bundle is of interest because of possible ties to schizophrenia, and extracting blood vessels is helpful in the diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases. The tubular model we propose has advantages over many existing approaches in literature: fewer degrees-of-freedom over a general deformable surface hence energies defined on such tubes are less sensitive to undesirable local minima, and the tube (in 3-D) can be naturally represented by a 4-D curve (a radius function and centerline), which leads to computationally less costly algorithms and has the advantage that the centerline of the tube is obtained without additional effort. Our model also generalizes to tubular trees, and the extraction algorithm that we design automatically detects and evolves branches of the tree. We demonstrate the performance of our algorithm on 20 datasets of DW-MRI data and 32 datasets of CTA, and quantify the results of our algorithm when expert segmentations are available.
In this paper we present a new computationally efficient numerical scheme for the minimizing flow approach for the computation of the optimal L(2) mass transport mapping. In contrast to the integration of a time dependent partial differential equation proposed in [S. Angenent, S. Haker, and A. Tannenbaum, SIAM J. Math. Anal., 35 (2003), pp. 61-97], we employ in the present work a direct variational method. The efficacy of the approach is demonstrated on both real and synthetic data.
We describe a neuroimaging protocol that utilizes an anatomical atlas of the human head to guide diffuse optical tomography of human brain activation. The protocol is demonstrated by imaging the hemodynamic response to median-nerve stimulation in three healthy subjects, and comparing the images obtained using a head atlas with the images obtained using the subject-specific head anatomy. The results indicate that using the head atlas anatomy it is possible to reconstruct the location of the brain activation to the expected gyrus of the brain, in agreement with the results obtained with the subject-specific head anatomy. The benefits of this novel method derive from eliminating the need for subject-specific head anatomy and thus obviating the need for a subject-specific MRI to improve the anatomical interpretation of diffuse optical tomography images of brain activation.
Recent advances in diffusion weighted MR imaging (dMRI) has made it a tool of choice for investigating white matter abnormalities of the brain and central nervous system. In this work, we design a system that detects abnormal features (biomarkers) of first-episode schizophrenia patients and then classifies them using these features. We use two different models of the dMRI data, namely, spherical harmonics and the two-tensor model. The algorithm works by first computing several diffusion measures from each model. An affine-invariant representation of each subject is then computed, thus avoiding the need for registration. This representation is used within a kernel based feature selection algorithm to determine the biomarkers that are statistically different between the two populations. Confirmation of how well these biomarkers identify each population is obtained by using several classifiers such as, k-nearest neighbors, Parzen window classifier, and support vector machines to separate 21 first-episode patients from 20 age-matched normal controls. Classification results using leave-many-out cross-validation scheme are given for each representation. This algorithm is a first step towards early detection of schizophrenia.
We introduce a fibre tractography framework based on a particle filter which estimates a local geometrical model of the underlying white matter tract, formulated as a 'streamline flow' using generalized helicoids. The method is not dependent on the diffusion model, and is applicable to diffusion tensor (DT) data as well as to high angular resolution reconstructions. The geometrical model allows for a robust inference of local tract geometry, which, in the context of the causal filter estimation, guides tractography through regions with partial volume effects. We validate the method on synthetic data and present results on two types in vivo data: diffusion tensors and a spherical harmonic reconstruction of the fibre orientation distribution function (fODF).
The Funk-Radon Transform (FRT) is a powerful tool for the estimation of fiber populations with High Angular Resolution Diffusion Imaging (HARDI). It is used in Q-Ball imaging (QBI), and other HARDI techniques such as the recent Orientation Probability Density Transform (OPDT), to estimate fiber populations with very few restrictions on the diffusion model. The FRT consists in the integration of the attenuation signal, sampled by the MRI scanner on the unit sphere, along equators orthogonal to the directions of interest. It is easily proved that this calculation is equivalent to the integration of the diffusion propagator along such directions, although a characteristic blurring with a Bessel kernel is introduced. Under a different point of view, the FRT can be seen as an efficient way to compute the angular part of the integral of the attenuation signal in the plane orthogonal to each direction of the diffusion propagator. In this paper, Stoke's theorem is used to prove that the FRT can in fact be used to compute accurate estimates of the true integrals defining the functions of interest in HARDI, keeping the diffusion model as little restrictive as possible. Varying the assumptions on the attenuation signal, we derive new estimators of fiber orientations, generalizing both Q-Balls and the OPDT. Extensive experiments with both synthetic and real data have been intended to show that the new techniques improve existing ones in many situations.
Relating brain tissue properties to diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is limited when an image voxel contains partial volume of brain tissue with free water, such as cerebrospinal fluid or edema, rendering the DTI indices no longer useful for describing the underlying tissue properties. We propose here a method for separating diffusion properties of brain tissue from surrounding free water while mapping the free water volume. This is achieved by fitting a bi-tensor model for which a mathematical framework is introduced to stabilize the fitting. Applying the method on datasets from a healthy subject and a patient with edema yielded corrected DTI indices and a more complete tract reconstruction that passed next to the ventricles and through the edema. We were able to segment the edema into areas according to the condition of the underlying tissue. In addition, the volume of free water is suggested as a new quantitative contrast of diffusion MRI. The findings suggest that free water is not limited to the borders of the brain parenchyma; it therefore contributes to the architecture surrounding neuronal bundles and may indicate specific anatomical processes. The analysis requires a conventional DTI acquisition and can be easily merged with existing DTI pipelines.
Imaging modalities that can be used intra-operatively do not provide sufficient details to confidently locate the abnormalities and critical healthy areas that have been identified from high-resolution pre-operative scans. However, as we have shown in our previous work, high quality pre-operative images can be warped to the intra-operative position of the brain. This can be achieved by computing deformations within the brain using a biomechanical model. In this paper, using a previously developed patient-specific model of brain undergoing craniotomy-induced shift, we conduct a parametric analysis to investigate in detail the influences of constitutive models of the brain tissue. We conclude that the choice of the brain tissue constitutive model, when used with an appropriate finite deformation solution, does not affect the accuracy of computed displacements, and therefore a simple linear elastic model for the brain tissue is sufficient.
We propose a novel l(1)l(2)-norm inverse solver for estimating the sources of EEG/MEG signals. Based on the standard l(1)-norm inverse solvers, this sparse distributed inverse solver integrates the l(1)-norm spatial model with a temporal model of the source signals in order to avoid unstable activation patterns and "spiky" reconstructed signals often produced by the currently used sparse solvers. The joint spatio-temporal model leads to a cost function with an l(1)l(2)-norm regularizer whose minimization can be reduced to a convex second-order cone programming (SOCP) problem and efficiently solved using the interior-point method. The efficient computation of the SOCP problem allows us to implement permutation tests for estimating statistical significance of the inverse solution. Validation with simulated and human MEG data shows that the proposed solver yields source time course estimates qualitatively similar to those obtained through dipole fitting, but without the need to specify the number of dipole sources in advance. Furthermore, the l(1)l(2)-norm solver achieves fewer false positives and a better representation of the source locations than the conventional l(2) minimum-norm estimates.
An inherent drawback of the traditional diffusion tensor model is its limited ability to provide detailed information about multidirectional fiber architecture within a voxel. This leads to erroneous fiber tractography results in locations where fiber bundles cross each other. This may lead to the inability to visualize clinically important tracts such as the lateral projections of the corticospinal tract. In this report, we present a deterministic two-tensor eXtended Streamline Tractography (XST) technique, which successfully traces through regions of crossing fibers. We evaluated the method on simulated and in vivo human brain data, comparing the results with the traditional single-tensor and with a probabilistic tractography technique. By tracing the corticospinal tract and correlating with fMRI-determined motor cortex in both healthy subjects and patients with brain tumors, we demonstrate that two-tensor deterministic streamline tractography can accurately identify fiber bundles consistent with anatomy and previously not detected by conventional single-tensor tractography. When compared to the dense connectivity maps generated by probabilistic tractography, the method is computationally efficient and generates discrete geometric pathways that are simple to visualize and clinically useful. Detection of crossing white matter pathways can improve neurosurgical visualization of functionally relevant white matter areas.
It has been shown that the tensor calculation is very sensitive to the presence of noise in the acquired images, yielding to very low quality Diffusion Tensor Images (DTI) data. Recent investigations have shown that the noise present in the Diffusion Weighted Images (DWI) causes bias effects on the DTI data which cannot be corrected if the noise characteristic is not taken into account. One possible solution is to increase the minimum number of acquired measurements (which is 7) to several tens (or even several hundreds). This has the disadvantage of increasing the acquisition time by one (or two) orders of magnitude, making the process inconvenient for a clinical setting. We here proposed a turn-around procedure for which the number of acquisitions is maintained but, the DWI data are filtered prior to determining the DTI. We show a significant reduction on the DTI bias by means of a simple and fast procedure which is based on linear filtering; well-known drawbacks of such filters are circumvented by means of anisotropic neighborhoods and sequential application of the filter itself. Information of the first order probability density function of the raw data, namely, the Rice distribution, is also included. Results are shown both for synthetic and real datasets. Some error measurements are determined in the synthetic experiments, showing how the proposed scheme is able to reduce them. It is worth noting a 50% increase in the linear component for real DTI data, meaning that the bias in the DTI is considerably reduced. A novel fiber smoothness measure is defined to evaluate the resulting tractography for real DWI data. Our findings show that after filtering, fibers are considerably smoother on the average. Execution times are very low as compared to other reported approaches which allows for a real-time implementation.
We have compared the three-dimensional (3D) morphology of stubby and spiny neurons derived from the human small intestine. After immunohistochemical triple staining for leu-enkephalin (ENK), vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and neurofilament (NF), neurons were selected and scanned based on their immunoreactivity, whether ENK (stubby) or VIP (spiny). For the 3D reconstruction, we focused on confocal data pre-processing with intensity drop correction, non-blind deconvolution, an additional compression procedure in z-direction, and optimizing segmentation reliability. 3D Slicer software enabled a semi-automated segmentation based on an objective threshold (interrater and intrarater reliability, both 0.99). We found that most dendrites of stubby neurons emerged only from the somal circumference, whereas in spiny neurons, they also emerged from the luminal somal surface. In most neurons, the nucleus was positioned abluminally in its soma. The volumes of spiny neurons were significantly larger than those of stubby neurons (total mean of stubbies 806 +/- 128 mum(3), of spinies 2,316 +/- 545 mum(3)), and spiny neurons had more dendrites (26.3 vs. 11.3). The ratios of somal versus dendritic volumes were 1:1.2 in spiny and 1:0.3 in stubby neurons. In conclusion, 3D reconstruction revealed new differences between stubby and spiny neurons and allowed estimations of volumetric data of these neuron populations.
Accurate fluid mechanics models are important tools for predicting the flow field in the carotid artery bifurcation and for understanding the relationship between hemodynamics and the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. Clinical imaging modalities can be used to obtain geometry and blood flow data for developing subject-specific human carotid artery bifurcation models. We developed subject-specific computational fluid dynamics models of the human carotid bifurcation from magnetic resonance (MR) geometry data and phase contrast MR velocity data measured in vivo. Two simulations were conducted with identical geometry, flow rates, and fluid parameters: (1) Simulation 1 used in vivo measured velocity distributions as time-varying boundary conditions and (2) Simulation 2 used idealized fully-developed velocity profiles as boundary conditions. The position and extent of negative axial velocity regions (NAVRs) vary between the two simulations at any given point in time, and these regions vary temporally within each simulation. The combination of inlet velocity boundary conditions, geometry, and flow waveforms influences NAVRs. In particular, the combination of flow division and the location of the velocity peak with respect to individual carotid geometry landmarks (bifurcation apex position and the departure angle of the internal carotid) influences the size and location of these reversed flow zones. Average axial wall shear stress (WSS) distributions are qualitatively similar for the two simulations; however, instantaneous WSS values vary with the choice of velocity boundary conditions. By developing subject-specific simulations from in vivo measured geometry and flow data and varying the velocity boundary conditions in otherwise identical models, we isolated the effects of measured versus idealized velocity distributions on blood flow patterns. Choice of velocity distributions at boundary conditions is shown to influence pathophysiologically relevant flow patterns in the human carotid bifurcation. Although mean WSS distributions are qualitatively similar for measured and idealized inlet boundary conditions, instantaneous NAVRs differ and warrant imposing in vivo velocity boundary conditions in computational simulations. A simulation based on in vivo measured velocity distributions is preferred for modeling hemodynamics in subject-specific carotid artery bifurcation models when studying atherosclerosis initiation and development.
BACKGROUND: White matter fiber tracts, especially those interconnecting the frontal and temporal lobes, are likely implicated in pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Very few studies, however, have focused on the fornix, a compact bundle of white matter fibers, projecting from the hippocampus to the septum, anterior nucleus of the thalamus and the mamillary bodies. Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), and a new post-processing method, fiber tractography, provides a unique opportunity to visualize and to quantify entire trajectories of fiber bundles, such as the fornix, in vivo. We applied these techniques to quantify fornix diffusion anisotropy in schizophrenia. METHODS: DTI images were used to evaluate the left and the right fornix in 36 male patients diagnosed with chronic schizophrenia and 35 male healthy individuals, group matched on age, parental socioeconomic status, and handedness. Regions of interest were drawn manually, blind to group membership, to guide tractography, and fractional anisotropy (FA), a measure of fiber integrity, was calculated and averaged over the entire tract for each subject. The Doors and People test (DPT) was used to evaluate visual and verbal memory, combined recall and combined recognition. RESULTS: Analysis of variance was performed and findings demonstrated a difference between patients with schizophrenia and controls for fornix FA (p=0.006). Protected post-hoc independent sample t-tests demonstrated a bilateral FA decrease in schizophrenia, compared with control subjects (left side: p=0.048; right side p=0.006). Higher fornix FA was statistically significantly correlated with DPT and measures of combined visual memory (r=0.554, p=0.026), combined verbal memory (r=0.647, p=0.007), combined recall (r=0.516, p=0.041), and combined recognition (r=0.710, p=0.002) for the control group. No such statistically significant correlations were found in the patient group. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show the utility of applying DTI and tractography to study white matter fiber tracts in vivo in schizophrenia. Specifically, we observed a bilateral disruption in fornix integrity in schizophrenia, thus broadening our understanding of the pathophysiology of this disease.
This paper addresses the problem of creating probabilistic brain atlases from manually labeled training data. Probabilistic atlases are typically constructed by counting the relative frequency of occurrence of labels in corresponding locations across the training images. However, such an "averaging" approach generalizes poorly to unseen cases when the number of training images is limited, and provides no principled way of aligning the training datasets using deformable registration. In this paper, we generalize the generative image model implicitly underlying standard "average" atlases, using mesh-based representations endowed with an explicit deformation model. Bayesian inference is used to infer the optimal model parameters from the training data, leading to a simultaneous group-wise registration and atlas estimation scheme that encompasses standard averaging as a special case. We also use Bayesian inference to compare alternative atlas models in light of the training data, and show how this leads to a data compression problem that is intuitive to interpret and computationally feasible. Using this technique, we automatically determine the optimal amount of spatial blurring, the best deformation field flexibility, and the most compact mesh representation. We demonstrate, using 2-D training datasets, that the resulting models are better at capturing the structure in the training data than conventional probabilistic atlases. We also present experiments of the proposed atlas construction technique in 3-D, and show the resulting atlases' potential in fully-automated, pulse sequence-adaptive segmentation of 36 neuroanatomical structures in brain MRI scans.