Dalca A V, Sridharan R, Sabuncu MR, Golland P. Predictive Modeling of Anatomy with Genetic and Clinical Data. Med Image Comput Comput Assist Interv. 2015;9351:519–26.

We present a semi-parametric generative model for predicting anatomy of a patient in subsequent scans following a single baseline image. Such predictive modeling promises to facilitate novel analyses in both voxel-level studies and longitudinal biomarker evaluation. We capture anatomical change through a combination of population-wide regression and a non-parametric model of the subject’s health based on individual genetic and clinical indicators. In contrast to classical correlation and longitudinal analysis, we focus on predicting new observations from a single subject observation. We demonstrate prediction of follow-up anatomical scans in the ADNI cohort, and illustrate a novel analysis approach that compares a patient’s scans to the predicted subject-specific healthy anatomical trajectory.

Maier-Hein KH, Westin CF, Shenton ME, Weiner MW, Raj A, Thomann P, Kikinis R, Stieltjes B, Pasternak O. Widespread White Matter Degeneration Preceding the Onset of Dementia. Alzheimers Dement. 2015;11(5):485–93.

BACKGROUND: Brain atrophy in subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) introduces partial volume effects, limiting the sensitivity of diffusion tensor imaging to white matter microstructural degeneration. Appropriate correction isolates microstructural effects in MCI that might be precursors of Alzheimer s disease (AD). METHODS: Forty-eight participants (18 MCI, 15 AD, and 15 healthy controls) had magnetic resonance imaging scans and clinical evaluations at baseline and follow-up after 36 months. Ten MCI subjects were diagnosed with AD at follow-up and eight remained MCI. Free-water (FW) corrected measures on the white matter skeleton were compared between groups. RESULTS: FW corrected radial diffusivity, but not uncorrected radial diffusivity, was increased across the brain of the converted group compared with the nonconverted group (P < .05). The extent of increases was similar to that found comparing AD with controls. CONCLUSION: Partial volume elimination reveals microstructural alterations preceding dementia. These alterations may prove to be an effective and feasible early biomarker of AD.

Sjölund J, Szczepankiewicz F, Nilsson M, Topgaard D, Westin CF, Knutsson H. Constrained Optimization of Gradient Waveforms for Generalized Diffusion Encoding. J Magn Reson. 2015;261:157–68.

Diffusion MRI is a useful probe of tissue microstructure. The conventional diffusion encoding sequence, the single pulsed field gradient, has recently been challenged as more general gradient waveforms have been introduced. Out of these, we focus on q-space trajectory imaging, which generalizes the scalar b-value to a tensor valued entity. To take full advantage of its capabilities, it is imperative to respect the constraints imposed by the hardware, while at the same time maximizing the diffusion encoding strength. We provide a tool that achieves this by solving a constrained optimization problem that accommodates constraints on maximum gradient amplitude, slew rate, coil heating and positioning of radio frequency pulses. The method’s efficacy and flexibility is demonstrated both experimentally and by comparison with previous work on optimization of isotropic diffusion sequences.

Wachinger C, Toews M, Langs G, Wells WM III, Golland P. Keypoint Transfer Segmentation. Inf Process Med Imaging. 2015;24:233–45.

We present an image segmentation method that transfers label maps of entire organs from the training images to the novel image to be segmented. The transfer is based on sparse correspondences between keypoints that represent automatically identified distinctive image locations. Our segmentation algorithm consists of three steps: (i) keypoint matching, (ii) voting-based keypoint labeling, and (iii) keypoint-based probabilistic transfer of organ label maps. We introduce generative models for the inference of keypoint labels and for image segmentation, where keypoint matches are treated as a latent random variable and are marginalized out as part of the algorithm. We report segmentation results for abdominal organs in whole-body CT and in contrast-enhanced CT images. The accuracy of our method compares favorably to common multi-atlas segmentation while offering a speed-up of about three orders of magnitude. Furthermore, keypoint transfer requires no training phase or registration to an atlas. The algorithm’s robustness enables the segmentation of scans with highly variable field-of-view.

Menze BH, Jakab A, Bauer S, Kalpathy-Cramer J, Farahani K, al. et. The Multimodal Brain Tumor Image Segmentation Benchmark (BRATS). IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2015;34(10):1993–2024.

In this paper we report the set-up and results of the Multimodal Brain Tumor Image Segmentation Benchmark (BRATS) organized in conjunction with the MICCAI 2012 and 2013 conferences. Twenty state-of-the-art tumor segmentation algorithms were applied to a set of 65 multi-contrast MR scans of low- and high-grade glioma patients-manually annotated by up to four raters-and to 65 comparable scans generated using tumor image simulation software. Quantitative evaluations revealed considerable disagreement between the human raters in segmenting various tumor sub-regions (Dice scores in the range 74%-85%), illustrating the difficulty of this task. We found that different algorithms worked best for different sub-regions (reaching performance comparable to human inter-rater variability), but that no single algorithm ranked in the top for all sub-regions simultaneously. Fusing several good algorithms using a hierarchical majority vote yielded segmentations that consistently ranked above all individual algorithms, indicating remaining opportunities for further methodological improvements. The BRATS image data and manual annotations continue to be publicly available through an online evaluation system as an ongoing benchmarking resource.

Langs G, Golland P, Ghosh SS. Predicting Activation Across Individuals with Resting-State Functional Connectivity Based Multi-Atlas Label Fusion. Med Image Comput Comput Assist Interv. 2015;9350:313–20.

The alignment of brain imaging data for functional neuroimaging studies is challenging due to the discrepancy between correspondence of morphology, and equivalence of functional role. In this paper we map functional activation areas across individuals by a multi-atlas label fusion algorithm in a functional space. We learn the manifold of resting-state fMRI signals in each individual, and perform manifold alignment in an embedding space. We then transfer activation predictions from a source population to a target subject via multi-atlas label fusion. The cost function is derived from the aligned manifolds, so that the resulting correspondences are derived based on the similarity of intrinsic connectivity architecture. Experiments show that the resulting label fusion predicts activation evoked by various experiment conditions with higher accuracy than relying on morphological alignment. Interestingly, the distribution of this gain is distributed heterogeneously across the cortex, and across tasks. This offers insights into the relationship between intrinsic connectivity, morphology and task activation. Practically, the mechanism can serve as prior, and provides an avenue to infer task-related activation in individuals for whom only resting data is available.

Chen GH, Shah D, Golland P. A Latent Source Model for Patch-Based Image Segmentation. Med Image Comput Comput Assist Interv. 2015;9351:140–8.

Despite the popularity and empirical success of patch-based nearest-neighbor and weighted majority voting approaches to medical image segmentation, there has been no theoretical development on when, why, and how well these nonparametric methods work. We bridge this gap by providing a theoretical performance guarantee for nearest-neighbor and weighted majority voting segmentation under a new probabilistic model for patch-based image segmentation. Our analysis relies on a new local property for how similar nearby patches are, and fuses existing lines of work on modeling natural imagery patches and theory for nonparametric classification. We use the model to derive a new patch-based segmentation algorithm that iterates between inferring local label patches and merging these local segmentations to produce a globally consistent image segmentation. Many existing patch-based algorithms arise as special cases of the new algorithm.

Parisot S, Arslan S, Passerat-Palmbach J, Wells WM III, Rueckert D. Tractography-Driven Groupwise Multi-scale Parcellation of the Cortex. Inf Process Med Imaging. 2015;24:600–12.

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.

Wachinger C, Golland P. Sampling from Determinantal Point Processes for Scalable Manifold Learning. Inf Process Med Imaging. 2015;24:687–98.

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.

Toews M, Wachinger C, Estepar RSJ, Wells WM III. A Feature-Based Approach to Big Data Analysis of Medical Images. Inf Process Med Imaging. 2015;24:339–50.

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.