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Neuroimage. 2007 Feb 15;34(4):1612-8. Epub 2006 Dec 26.

Optimum template selection for atlas-based segmentation.

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1
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.

Abstract

Atlas-based segmentation of MR brain images typically uses a single atlas (e.g., MNI Colin27) for region identification. Normal individual variations in human brain structures present a significant challenge for atlas selection. Previous researches mainly focused on how to create a specific template for different requirements (e.g., for a certain population). We address atlas selection with a different approach: instead of choosing a fixed brain atlas, we use a family of brain templates for atlas-based segmentation. For each subject and each region, the template selection method automatically chooses the 'best' template with the highest local registration accuracy, based on normalized mutual information. The region classification performances of the template selection method and the single template method were quantified by the overlap ratios (ORs) and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) between the manual tracings and the respective automated labeled results. Two groups of brain images and multiple regions of interest (ROIs), including the right anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and several subcortical structures, were tested for both methods. We found that the template selection method produced significantly higher ORs than did the single template method across all of the 13 analyzed ROIs (two-tailed paired t-test, right ACC at t(8)=4.353, p=0.0024; right amygdala, matched paired t test t(8)>3.175, p<0.013; for the remaining ROIs, t(8)=4.36, p<0.002). The template selection method also provided more reliable volume estimates than the single template method with increased ICCs. Moreover, the improved accuracy of atlas-based segmentation using optimum templates approaches the accuracy of manual tracing, and thus is valid for automated brain imaging analyses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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