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IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2015 Oct;34(10):2191-202. doi: 10.1109/TMI.2015.2427157. Epub 2015 Apr 28.

A majorize-minimize framework for Rician and non-central chi MR images.


The statistics of many MR magnitude images are described by the non-central chi (NCC) family of probability distributions, which includes the Rician distribution as a special case. These distributions have complicated negative log-likelihoods that are nontrivial to optimize. This paper describes a novel majorize-minimize framework for NCC data that allows penalized maximum likelihood estimates to be obtained by solving a series of much simpler regularized least-squares surrogate problems. The proposed framework is general and can be useful in a range of applications. We illustrate the potential advantages of the framework with real and simulated data in two contexts: 1) MR image denoising and 2) diffusion profile estimation in high angular resolution diffusion MRI. The proposed approach is shown to yield improved results compared to methods that model the noise statistics inaccurately and faster computation relative to commonly-used nonlinear optimization techniques.

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