Age-specific CT and MRI templates for spatial normalization

Neuroimage. 2012 Jul 16;61(4):957-65. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.03.020. Epub 2012 Mar 13.


Spatial normalization reshapes an individual's brain to match the shape and size of a template image. This is a crucial step required for group-level statistical analyses. The most popular standard templates are derived from MRI scans of young adults. We introduce specialized templates that allow normalization algorithms to be applied to stroke-aged populations. First, we developed a CT template: while this is the dominant modality for many clinical situations, there are no modern CT templates and popular algorithms fail to successfully normalize CT scans. Importantly, our template was based on healthy individuals with ages similar to what is commonly seen in stroke (mean 65 years old). This template allows studies where only CT scans are available. Second, we derived a MRI template that approximately matches the shape of our CT template as well as processing steps that aid the normalization of scans from older individuals (including lesion masking and the ability to generate high quality cortical renderings despite brain injury). The benefit of this strategy is that the resulting templates can be used in studies where mixed modalities are present. We have integrated these templates and processing algorithms into a simple SPM toolbox (

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*