During aging the brain undergoes a series of structural changes, in size, shape as well as tissue composition. In particular, cortical atrophy and ventricular enlargement are often present in the brain of elderly individuals. This poses serious challenges in the spatial registration of structural MR images. In this study, we addressed this open issue by proposing an enhanced framework for MR registration and segmentation. Our solution was compared with other approaches based on the tools available in SPM12, a widely used software package. Performance of the different methods was assessed on 229 T1-weighted images collected in healthy individuals, with age ranging between 55 and 90 years old. Our method showed a consistent improvement as compared to other solutions, especially for subjects with enlarged lateral ventricles. It also provided a superior inter-subject alignment in cortical regions, with the most marked improvement in the frontal lobe. We conclude that our method is a valid alternative to standard approaches based on SPM12, and is particularly suitable for the processing of structural MR images of brains with cortical atrophy and ventricular enlargement. The method is integrated in our software toolbox MRTool, which is freely available to the scientific community.
Neuroinformatics – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 19, 2018
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