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10 August 2011 A novel contrast for DTI visualization for thalamus delineation
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It has been recently shown that thalamic nuclei can be automatically segmented using diffusion tensor images (DTI) under the assumption that principal fiber orientation is similar within a given nucleus and distinct between adjacent nuclei. Validation of these methods, however, is challenging because manual delineation is hard to carry out due to the lack of images showing contrast between the nuclei. In this paper, we present a novel gray-scale contrast for DTI visualization that accentuates voxels in which the orientations of the principal eigenvectors are changing, thus providing an edge map for the delineation of some thalamic nuclei. The method uses the principal fiber orientation computed from the diffusion tensors computed at each voxel. The three-dimensional orientations of the principal eigenvectors are represented as five dimensional vectors and the spatial gradient (matrix) of these vectors provide information about spatial changes in tensor orientation. In particular, an edge map is created by computing the Frobenius norm of this gradient matrix. We show that this process reveals distinct edges between large nuclei in the thalamus, thereby making manual delineation of the thalamic nuclei possible. We briefly describe a protocol for the manual delineation of thalamic nuclei based on this edge map used in conjunction with a registered T1-weighted MR image, and present a preliminary multi-rater evaluation of the volumes of thalamic nuclei in several subjects.
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Xian Fan, Meredith Thompson, John A. Bogovic, Pierre-Louis Bazin, and Jerry L. Prince "A novel contrast for DTI visualization for thalamus delineation", Proc. SPIE 7625, Medical Imaging 2010: Visualization, Image-Guided Procedures, and Modeling, 762533 (10 August 2011);


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