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Neuroimage. 1999 Feb;9(2):250-68.

A method for assessing the accuracy of intersubject registration of the human brain using anatomic landmarks.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, 02114, USA.


Several groups have developed methods for registering an individual's 3D MRI by deforming a standard template. This achievement leads to many possibilities for segmentation and morphology that will impact nuclear medical research in areas such as activation and receptor studies. Accordingly, there is a need for methods that can assess the accuracy of intersubject registration. We have developed a method based on a set of 128 anatomic landmarks per hemisphere, both cortical and subcortical, that allows assessment of both global and local transformation accuracy. We applied our method to compare the accuracy of two standard methods of intersubject registration, AIR 3.0 with fifth-order polynomial warping and the Talairach stereotaxic transformation (Talairach and Tournoux, 1988). SPGR MRI's (256 x 256 x 160) of six normal subjects (age 18-24 years) were derformed to match a standard template volume. To assess registration accuracy the landmarks were located on both the template volume and the transformed volumes by an experienced neuroanatomist. The resulting list of coordinates was analyzed graphically and by ANOVA to compare the accuracy of the two methods and the results of the manual analysis. ANOVA performed over all 128 landmarks showed that the Woods method was more accurate than Talairach (left hemisphere F = 2.8, P < 0.001 and right hemisphere F =2.4, P < 0.006). The Woods method provided a better brain surface transformation than did Talairach (F = 18.0, P < 0.0001), but as expected there was a smaller difference for subcortical structures and both had an accuracy <1 mm for the majority of subcortical landmarks. Overall, both the Woods and Talairach method located about 70% of landmarks with an error of 3 mm or less. More striking differences were noted for landmark accuracy </=1 mm, where the Woods method located about 40% and Talairach about 23%. These results demonstrate that this anatomically based assessment method can help evaluate new methods of intersubject registration and should be a helpful tool in appreciating regional differences in accuracy. Consistent with expectation, we confirmed that the Woods nonlinear registration method was more accurate than Talairach. Landmark-based anatomic analyses of intersubject registration accuracy offer opportunities to explore the relationship among structure, function and architectonic boundaries in the human brain.

Copyright 1999 Academic Press.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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