Comparison of different methodological implementations of voxel-based morphometry in neurodegenerative disease

Neuroimage. 2005 Jun;26(2):600-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.02.005. Epub 2005 Apr 12.


Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) is a popular method for probing inter-group differences in brain morphology. Variation in the detailed implementation of the algorithm, however, will affect the apparent results of VBM analyses and in turn the inferences drawn about the anatomic expression of specific disease states. We qualitatively assessed group comparisons of 43 normal elderly control subjects and 51 patients with probable Alzheimer's disease, using five different VBM variations. Based on the known pathologic expression of the disease, we evaluated the biological plausibility of each. The use of a custom template and custom tissue class prior probability images (priors) produced inter-group comparison maps with greater biological plausibility than the use of the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) template and priors. We present a method for initializing the normalization to a custom template, and conclude that, when incorporated into the VBM processing chain, it yields the most biologically plausible inter-group differences of the five methods presented.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / pathology
  • Algorithms
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Atrophy / pathology
  • Cerebellum / pathology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted*
  • Limbic System / pathology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Motor Cortex / pathology
  • Neocortex / pathology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / pathology