Fully automatic detection of deep white matter T1 hypointense lesions in multiple sclerosis

Phys Med Biol. 2013 Dec 7;58(23):8323-37. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/58/23/8323. Epub 2013 Nov 11.


A novel method is presented for fully automatic detection of candidate white matter (WM) T1 hypointense lesions in three-dimensional high-resolution T1-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) images. By definition, T1 hypointense lesions have similar intensity as gray matter (GM) and thus appear darker than surrounding normal WM in T1-weighted images. The novel method uses a standard classification algorithm to partition T1-weighted images into GM, WM and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). As a consequence, T1 hypointense lesions are assigned an increased GM probability by the standard classification algorithm. The GM component image of a patient is then tested voxel-by-voxel against GM component images of a normative database of healthy individuals. Clusters (≥0.1 ml) of significantly increased GM density within a predefined mask of deep WM are defined as lesions. The performance of the algorithm was assessed on voxel level by a simulation study. A maximum dice similarity coefficient of 60% was found for a typical T1 lesion pattern with contrasts ranging from WM to cortical GM, indicating substantial agreement between ground truth and automatic detection. Retrospective application to 10 patients with multiple sclerosis demonstrated that 93 out of 96 T1 hypointense lesions were detected. On average 3.6 false positive T1 hypointense lesions per patient were found. The novel method is promising to support the detection of hypointense lesions in T1-weighted images which warrants further evaluation in larger patient samples.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Automation
  • Brain*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Recurrence