A probabilistic model-based approach to consistent white matter tract segmentation

IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2007 Nov;26(11):1555-61. doi: 10.1109/TMI.2007.905826.


Since the invention of diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI), currently the only established method for studying white matter connectivity in a clinical environment, there has been a great deal of interest in the effects of various pathologies on the connectivity of the brain. As methods for in vivo tractography have been developed, it has become possible to track and segment specific white matter structures of interest for particular study. However, the consistency and reproducibility of tractography-based segmentation remain limited, and attempts to improve them have thus far typically involved the imposition of strong constraints on the tract reconstruction process itself. In this work we take a different approach, developing a formal probabilistic model for the relationships between comparable tracts in different scans, and then using it to choose a tract, a posteriori, which best matches a predefined reference tract for the structure of interest. We demonstrate that this method is able to significantly improve segmentation consistency without directly constraining the tractography algorithm.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Models, Statistical
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / ultrastructure*
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity