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Neuroinformatics. 2012 Oct;10(4):367-78. doi: 10.1007/s12021-012-9156-z.

A statistical framework for inter-group image registration.

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  • 1Department of Radiology and BRIC, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Groupwise image registration plays an important role in medical image analysis. The principle of groupwise image registration is to align a given set of images to a hidden template space in an iteratively manner without explicitly selecting any individual image as the template. Although many approaches have been proposed to address the groupwise image registration problem for registering a single group of images, few attentions and efforts have been paid to the registration problem between two or more different groups of images. In this paper, we propose a statistical framework to address the registration problems between two different image groups. The main contributions of this paper lie in the following aspects: (1) In this paper, we demonstrate that directly registering the group mean images estimated from two different image groups is not sufficient to establish the reliable transformation from one image group to the other image group. (2) A novel statistical framework is proposed to extract anatomical features from the white matter, gray matter and cerebrospinal fluid tissue maps of all aligned images as morphological signatures for each voxel. The extracted features provide much richer anatomical information than the voxel intensity of the group mean image, and can be integrated with the multi-channel Demons registration algorithm to perform the registration process. (3) The proposed method has been extensively evaluated on two publicly available brain MRI databases: the LONI LPBA40 and the IXI databases, and it is also compared with a conventional inter-group image registration approach which directly performs deformable registration between the group mean images of two image groups. Experimental results show that the proposed method consistently achieves higher registration accuracy than the method under comparison.

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