Detection of subtle brain changes using subvoxel registration and subtraction of serial MR images

J Comput Assist Tomogr. 1995 Sep-Oct;19(5):677-91. doi: 10.1097/00004728-199509000-00001.


Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the potential of accurate image registration for detecting subtle changes in the brain.

Materials and methods: Isotropic T1-weighted volume images were obtained in 10 normal subjects and five patients on two or more occasions (including pre- and postcontrast studies). The images were segmented and a 3D rigid body translation and rotation technique was used with sinc interpolation to precisely match the images using a chi 2-test. The registered images and the subtraction images produced from them were used to detect changes in signal intensity, sit, shape, and size of the brain.

Results: Small changes due to differences in orientation of the head, growth, and development as well as inhalation of oxygen and carbogen (95% O2/5% CO2) were observed in normal subjects. Changes were also observed in patients with minor head trauma, a meningioma, an astrocytoma, and multiple sclerosis. Differences due to contrast enhancement and surgery and/or anesthesia were also seen.

Conclusion: With use of subvoxel registration, subtle changes in the brain were detected in a variety of physiological and clinical situations where differences have hitherto been difficult or impossible to detect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain Diseases / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
  • Contrast Media
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / pathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Meningioma / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Posture
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Subtraction Technique


  • Contrast Media
  • Carbon Dioxide