Lesion Explorer: A comprehensive segmentation and parcellation package to obtain regional volumetrics for subcortical hyperintensities and intracranial tissue
ABSTRACT Subcortical hyperintensities (SH) are a commonly observed phenomenon on MRI of the aging brain (Kertesz et al., 1988). Conflicting behavioral, cognitive and pathological associations reported in the literature underline the need to develop an intracranial volumetric analysis technique to elucidate pathophysiological origins of SH in Alzheimer's disease (AD), vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) and normal aging (De Leeuw et al., 2001; Mayer and Kier, 1991; Pantoni and Garcia, 1997; Sachdev et al., 2008). The challenge is to develop processing tools that effectively and reliably quantify subcortical small vessel disease in the context of brain tissue compartments. Segmentation and brain region parcellation should account for SH subtypes which are often classified as: periventricular (pvSH) and deep white (dwSH), incidental white matter disease or lacunar infarcts and Virchow-Robin spaces. Lesion Explorer (LE) was developed as the final component of a comprehensive volumetric segmentation and parcellation image processing stream built upon previously published methods (Dade et al., 2004; Kovacevic et al., 2002). Inter-rater and inter-method reliability was accomplished both globally and regionally. Volumetric analysis showed high inter-rater reliability both globally (ICC=.99) and regionally (ICC=.98). Pixel-wise spatial congruence was also high (SI=.97). Whole brain pvSH volumes yielded high inter-rater reliability (ICC=.99). Volumetric analysis against an alternative kNN segmentation revealed high inter-method reliability (ICC=.97). Comparison with visual rating scales showed high significant correlations (ARWMC: r=.86; CHIPS: r=.87). The pipeline yields a comprehensive and reliable individualized volumetric profile for subcortical vasculopathy that includes regionalized (26 brain regions) measures for: GM, WM, sCSF, vCSF, lacunar and non-lacunar pvSH and dwSH.
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ABSTRACT: Subcortical hyperintensities (SHs) are radiological entities commonly observed on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and normal elderly controls. Although the presence of SH is believed to indicate some form of subcortical vasculopathy, pathological heterogeneity, methodological differences, and the contribution of brain atrophy associated with AD pathology have yielded inconsistent results in the literature. Using the Lesion Explorer (LE) MRI processing pipeline for SH quantification and brain atrophy, this study examined SH volumes of interest and cognitive function in a sample of patients with AD (n = 265) and normal elderly controls (n = 100) from the Sunnybrook Dementia Study. Compared with healthy controls, patients with AD were found to have less gray matter, less white matter, and more sulcal and ventricular cerebrospinal fluid (all significant, P <0.0001). Additionally, patients with AD had greater volumes of whole-brain SH (P <0.01), periventricular SH (pvSH) (P <0.01), deep white SH (dwSH) (P <0.05), and lacunar lesions (P <0.0001). In patients with AD, regression analyses revealed a significant association between global atrophy and pvSH (P = 0.02) and ventricular atrophy with whole-brain SH (P <0.0001). Regional volumes of interest revealed significant correlations with medial middle frontal SH volume and executive function (P <0.001) in normal controls but not in patients with AD, global pvSH volume and mental processing speed (P <0.01) in patients with AD, and left temporal SH volume and memory (P <0.01) in patients with AD. These brain-behavior relationships and correlations with brain atrophy suggest that subtle, yet measurable, signs of small vessel disease may have potential clinical relevance as targets for treatment in Alzheimer's dementia.Alzheimer's Research and Therapy 08/2014; 6(4):49. DOI:10.1186/alzrt279 · 3.50 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Corticobasal Syndrome (CBS) are atypical parkinsonian disorders with fronto-subcortical and posterior cognitive dysfunction as common features. While visual hallucinations are a good predictor of Lewy body pathology and are rare in CBS, they are not exhibited in all cases of DLB. Given the clinical overlap between these disorders, neuropsychological and imaging markers may aid in distinguishing these entities. Prospectively recruited case-control cohorts of CBS (n =31) and visual hallucination-free DLB (n =30), completed neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric measures as well as brain perfusion single-photon emission computed tomography and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Perfusion data were available for forty-two controls. Behavioural, perfusion, and cortical volume and thickness measures were compared between the groups to identify features that serve to differentiate them. The Lewy body with no hallucinations group performed more poorly on measures of episodic memory compared to the corticobasal group, including the delayed and cued recall portions of the California Verbal Learning Test (F (1, 42) =23.1, P <0.001 and F (1, 42) =14.0, P =0.001 respectively) and the delayed visual reproduction of the Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised (F (1, 36) =9.7, P =0.004). The Lewy body group also demonstrated reduced perfusion in the left occipital pole compared to the corticobasal group (F (1,57) =7.4, P =0.009). At autopsy, the Lewy body cases all demonstrated mixed dementia with Lewy bodies, Alzheimer's disease and small vessel arteriosclerosis, while the corticobasal cases demonstrated classical corticobasal degeneration in five, dementia with agyrophilic grains + corticobasal degeneration + cerebral amyloid angiopathy in one, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy in two, and Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration-Ubiquitin/TAR DNA-binding protein 43 proteinopathy in one. MRI measures were not significantly different between the patient groups. Reduced perfusion in the left occipital region and worse episodic memory performance may help to distinguish between DLB cases who have never manifested with visual hallucinations and CBS at earlier stages of the disease. Development of reliable neuropsychological and imaging markers that improve diagnostic accuracy will become increasingly important as disease modifying therapies become available.Alzheimer's Research and Therapy 12/2014; 6(9):71. DOI:10.1186/s13195-014-0071-4 · 3.50 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In the human brain, minerals such as iron and calcium accumulate increasingly with age. They typically appear hypointense on T2*-weighted MRI sequences. This study aims to explore the differentiation and association between calcified regions and noncalcified iron deposits on clinical brain MRI in elderly, otherwise healthy subjects.Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging 08/2014; 40(2). DOI:10.1002/jmri.24348 · 2.79 Impact Factor