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IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2007 Dec;26(12):1657-69.

Surface-constrained volumetric brain registration using harmonic mappings.

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Image Processing Institute, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA.


In order to compare anatomical and functional brain imaging data across subjects, the images must first be registered to a common coordinate system in which anatomical features are aligned. Intensity-based volume registration methods can align subcortical structures well, but the variability in sulcal folding patterns typically results in misalignment of the cortical surface. Conversely, surface-based registration using sulcal features can produce excellent cortical alignment but the mapping between brains is restricted to the cortical surface. Here we describe a method for volumetric registration that also produces an accurate one-to-one point correspondence between cortical surfaces. This is achieved by first parameterizing and aligning the cortical surfaces using sulcal landmarks. We then use a constrained harmonic mapping to extend this surface correspondence to the entire cortical volume. Finally, this mapping is refined using an intensity-based warp. We demonstrate the utility of the method by applying it to T1-weighted magnetic resonance images (MRIs). We evaluate the performance of our proposed method relative to existing methods that use only intensity information; for this comparison we compute the intersubject alignment of expert-labeled subcortical structures after registration.

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