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Spatiotemporal morphometry of adjacent tissue layers with application to the study of sulcal formation.

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  • 1Biomedical Image Computing Group, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.


The process of brain growth involves the expansion of tissue at different rates at different points within the brain. As the layers within the developing brain evolve they can thicken or increase in area as the brain surface begins to fold. In this work we propose a new spatiotemporal formulation of tensor based volume morphometry that is derived in relation to tissue boundaries. This allows the study of the directional properties of tissue growth by separately characterizing the changes in area and thickness of the adjacent layers. The approach uses temporally weighted, local regression across a population of anatomies with different ages to model changes in components of the growth radial and tangential to the boundary between tissue layers. The formulation is applied to the study of sulcal formation from in-utero MR imaging of human fetal brain anatomy. Results show that the method detects differential growth of tissue layers adjacent to the cortical surface, particularly at sulcal locations, as early as 22 gestational weeks.

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