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Proc SPIE Int Soc Opt Eng. 2017;10133. pii: 101331H. doi: 10.1117/12.2254363. Epub 2017 Feb 24.

A Four-dimensional Motion Field Atlas of the Tongue from Tagged and Cine Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

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Dept. Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, US 02114.
Dept. Electrical and Computer Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, US 21218.
Dept. Neural and Pain Sciences, University of Maryland School of Dentistry, Baltimore, MD, US 21201.


Representation of human tongue motion using three-dimensional vector fields over time can be used to better understand tongue function during speech, swallowing, and other lingual behaviors. To characterize the inter-subject variability of the tongue's shape and motion of a population carrying out one of these functions it is desirable to build a statistical model of the four-dimensional (4D) tongue. In this paper, we propose a method to construct a spatio-temporal atlas of tongue motion using magnetic resonance (MR) images acquired from fourteen healthy human subjects. First, cine MR images revealing the anatomical features of the tongue are used to construct a 4D intensity image atlas. Second, tagged MR images acquired to capture internal motion are used to compute a dense motion field at each time frame using a phase-based motion tracking method. Third, motion fields from each subject are pulled back to the cine atlas space using the deformation fields computed during the cine atlas construction. Finally, a spatio-temporal motion field atlas is created to show a sequence of mean motion fields and their inter-subject variation. The quality of the atlas was evaluated by deforming cine images in the atlas space. Comparison between deformed and original cine images showed high correspondence. The proposed method provides a quantitative representation to observe the commonality and variability of the tongue motion field for the first time, and shows potential in evaluation of common properties such as strains and other tensors based on motion fields.


Speech; atlas; dynamic MRI; motion; spatio-temporal; statistical; tagged; tongue

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