Computational anatomy and diffeomorphometry: A dynamical systems model of neuroanatomy in the soft condensed matter continuum

Wiley Interdiscip Rev Syst Biol Med. 2018 Nov;10(6):e1425. doi: 10.1002/wsbm.1425. Epub 2018 Jun 4.


The nonlinear systems models of computational anatomy that have emerged over the past several decades are a synthesis of three significant areas of computational science and biological modeling. First is the algebraic model of biological shape as a Riemannian orbit, a set of objects under diffeomorphic action. Second is the embedding of anatomical shapes into the soft condensed matter physics continuum via the extension of the Euler equations to geodesic, smooth flows with inverses, encoding divergence for the compressibility of atrophy and expansion of growth. Third, is making human shape and form a metrizable space via geodesic connections of coordinate systems. These three themes place our formalism into the modern data science world of personalized medicine supporting inference of high-dimensional anatomical phenotypes for studying neurodegeneration and neurodevelopment. The dynamical systems model of growth and atrophy that emerges is one which is organized in terms of forces, accelerations, velocities, and displacements, with the associated Hamiltonian momentum and the diffeomorphic flow acting as the state, and the smooth vector field the control. The forces that enter the model derive from external measurements through which the dynamical system must flow, and the internal potential energies of structures making up the soft condensed matter. We examine numerous examples on growth and atrophy. This article is categorized under: Analytical and Computational Methods > Computational Methods Laboratory Methods and Technologies > Imaging Models of Systems Properties and Processes > Organ, Tissue, and Physiological Models.

Keywords: atrophy; computational anatomy; diffeomorphometry, dynamical systems; growth; medical imaging, neuroanatomy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Brain / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Nervous System / anatomy & histology*