Purpose: To test automated three-dimensional magnetic resonance (MR) imaging morphometry of the human hippocampus, to determine the potential gain in precision compared with conventional manual morphometry.
Material and methods: A canonical three-dimensional MR image atlas was used as a deformable template and automatically matched to three-dimensional MR images of 10 individuals (five healthy and five schizophrenic subjects). A subvolume containing the hippocampus was defined by using 16 landmarks that constrained the automated search for hippocampal boundaries. Transformation of the hippocampus template was automatically performed by using global pattern matching through a sequence of low-then high-dimensional translations, rotations, and scalings.
Results: The average test-retest volume difference measured with the automatic method was 3.1%, compared with the manual test-retest difference of 7.1%. Correlation between automated and manually determined volumes demonstrated the validity of the automated technique (intraclass correlation coefficient = .86).
Conclusion: The automated method estimates hippocampal volumes with less variability (ie, lower variance) than that of manual out-lining.