We present a unified statistical framework for analyzing temporally varying brain morphology using the 3D displacement vector field from a nonlinear deformation required to register a subject's brain to an atlas brain. The unification comes from a single model for structural change, rather than two separate models, one for displacement and one for volume changes. The displacement velocity field rather than the displacement itself is used to set up a linear model to account for temporal variations. By introducing the rate of the Jacobian change of the deformation, the local volume change at each voxel can be computed and used to measure possible brain tissue growth or loss. We have applied this method to detecting regions of a morphological change in a group of children and adolescents. Using structural magnetic resonance images for 28 children and adolescents taken at different time intervals, we demonstrate how this method works.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.