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Neurotherapeutics. 2018 Sep 14. doi: 10.1007/s13311-018-0663-y. [Epub ahead of print]

Automatic Removal of False Connections in Diffusion MRI Tractography Using Topology-Informed Pruning (TIP).

Author information

1
Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA. frank.yeh@pitt.edu.
2
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA. frank.yeh@pitt.edu.
3
Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
4
Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.

Abstract

Diffusion MRI fiber tracking provides a non-invasive method for mapping the trajectories of human brain connections, but its false connection problem has been a major challenge. This study introduces topology-informed pruning (TIP), a method that automatically identifies singular tracts and eliminates them to improve the tracking accuracy. The accuracy of the tractography with and without TIP was evaluated by a team of 6 neuroanatomists in a blinded setting to examine whether TIP could improve the accuracy. The results showed that TIP improved the tracking accuracy by 11.93% in the single-shell scheme and by 3.47% in the grid scheme. The improvement is significantly different from a random pruning (p value <‚ÄČ0.001). The diagnostic agreement between TIP and neuroanatomists was comparable to the agreement between neuroanatomists. The proposed TIP algorithm can be used to automatically clean-up noisy fibers in deterministic tractography, with a potential to confirm the existence of a fiber connection in basic neuroanatomical studies or clinical neurosurgical planning.

KEYWORDS:

Deterministic fiber tracking; Diffusion MRI; Structural connectome; Topology; Tractography

PMID:
30218214
DOI:
10.1007/s13311-018-0663-y

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