Quantitative MRI of the gray-white matter distribution in traumatic brain injury

J Neurotrauma. 1997 Jan;14(1):1-14. doi: 10.1089/neu.1997.14.1.


Quantitative analyses were performed on magnetic resonance images (MRIs) obtained from the brains of 31 traumatic brain-injured (TBI) patients and 25 normal control subjects. The quantitative analyses involved comparisons of the shapes of proton density gray scale pixel histograms obtained from both 3-mm and 5-mm slice thickness. Image segmentation was accomplished by a multispectral fuzzy C-means and/or k-nearest-neighbor (kNN) algorithms and manual classification was used to label segmented classes into CSF, white matter, and other. Shape descriptors were derived from the pixel intensity histograms of the combined gray matter and white matter classes for each MRI slice. Statistical analyses revealed significant differences in pixel intensity distributions between TBI and control subjects. Normal control subjects tended to exhibit bimodal gray matter-white matter histograms, whereas, TBI patients tended to exhibit unimodal gray matter-white matter histograms. In the control subjects the pixels intermediate in intensity between gray and white matter were located primarily at the border between the gray and white matter, whereas TBI patients exhibited a thickening of the number of intermediate pixels at the border as well as an increase in intermediate pixels in the middle of the gray and white matter. The greater the severity of TBI, then the larger the number of intermediate intensity pixels within and between gray and white matter. Further analyses demonstrated shifts in magnetic resonance relaxation times in gray and white matter in TBI patients, which suggested that the tendency toward unimodality in TBI patients represents a pathological reduction in brain differentiation due to measurable biophysical change.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Injuries / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged