[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The degree to which one identifies as male or female has a profound impact on one's life. Yet, there is a limited understanding of what contributes to this important characteristic termed gender identity. In order to reveal factors influencing gender identity, studies have focused on people who report strong feelings of being the opposite sex, such as male-to-female (MTF) transsexuals.
To investigate potential neuroanatomical variations associated with transsexualism, we compared the regional thickness of the cerebral cortex between 24 MTF transsexuals who had not yet been treated with cross-sex hormones and 24 age-matched control males.
Results revealed thicker cortices in MTF transsexuals, both within regions of the left hemisphere (i.e., frontal and orbito-frontal cortex, central sulcus, perisylvian regions, paracentral gyrus) and right hemisphere (i.e., pre-/post-central gyrus, parietal cortex, temporal cortex, precuneus, fusiform, lingual, and orbito-frontal gyrus).
These findings provide further evidence that brain anatomy is associated with gender identity, where measures in MTF transsexuals appear to be shifted away from gender-congruent men.
Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science 08/2012; 2(3):357-362.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Registration and delineation of anatomical features in MRI of the human brain play an important role in the investigation of brain development and disease. Accurate, automatic and computationally efficient cortical surface registration and delineation of surface-based landmarks, including regions of interest (ROIs) and sulcal curves (sulci), remain challenging problems due to substantial variation in the shapes of these features across populations. We present a method that performs a fast and accurate registration, labeling and sulcal delineation of brain images. The new method presented in this paper uses a multiresolution, curvature based approach to perform a registration of a subject brain surface model to a delineated atlas surface model; the atlas ROIs and sulcal curves are then mapped to the subject brain surface. A geodesic curvature flow on the cortical surface is then used to refine the locations of the sulcal curves sulci and label boundaries further, such that they follow the true sulcal fundi more closely. The flow is formulated using a level set based method on the cortical surface, which represents the curves as zero level sets. We also incorporate a curvature based weighting that drives the curves to the bottoms of the sulcal valleys in the cortical folds. Finally, we validate our new approach by comparing sets of automatically delineated sulcal curves it produced to corresponding sets of manually delineated sulcal curves. Our results indicate that the proposed method is able to find these landmarks accurately.
Proceedings of the 5th international conference on Biomedical Image Registration; 07/2012
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Knowledge of the properties of white matter fiber tracts isa crucial and necessary step toward a precise understanding of the functional architecture of the living human brain. Previously, this knowledge was severely limited, as it was difficult to visualize these structures or measure their functions in vivo. The HCP has recently generated considerable interest because of its potential to explore connectivity and its relationship with genetics and behavior. For neuroscientists and the lay public alike, the ability to assess, measure, and explore this wealth of layered information concerning how the brain is wired is a much sought after prize.The navigation of the human connectome and the discovery of how it is affected through genetics, and in a range of neurological and psychiatric diseases, have far reaching implications. From a range of ongoing connectomics related activities, the systematic characterization of brain connectedness and the resulting functional aspects of such connectivity will not only realize the work of Ramón y Cajal and others, but will also greatly expand our understanding of the brain, the mind, and what it is to be truly human. The similarities and differences that mark normal diversity will help us to understand variation among people and set the stage to chart genetic influences on typical brain development and decline during aging. What is more, an understanding of how brains might become disordered will shed light on autism, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases that exact a tremendous and terrible social and economic toll.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Insight into brain development and organization can be gained by computing correlations between structural and functional measures in parcellated cortex. Partial correlations can often reduce ambiguity in correlation data by identifying those pairs of regions whose similarity cannot be explained by the influence of other regions with which they may both interact. Consequently a graph with edges indicating non-zero partial correlations may reveal important subnetworks obscured in the correlation data. Here we describe and investigate PC∗, a graph pruning algorithm for identification of the partial correlation network in comparison to direct calculation of partial correlations from the inverse of the sample correlation matrix. We show that PC∗ is far more robust and illustrate its use in the study of covariation in cortical thickness in ROIs defined on a parcellated cortex.
Proceedings / IEEE International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging: from nano to macro. IEEE International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging 01/2012;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Analyzing geometry of sulcal curves on the human cortical surface requires a shape representation invariant to Euclidean motion. We present a novel shape representation that characterizes the shape of a curve in terms of a coordinate system based on the eigensystem of the anisotropic Helmholtz equation. This representation has many desirable properties: stability, uniqueness and invariance to scaling and isometric transformation. Under this representation, we can find a point-wise shape distance between curves as well as a bijective smooth point-to-point correspondence. When the curves are sampled irregularly, we also present a fast and accurate computational method for solving the eigensystem using a finite element formulation. This shape representation is used to find symmetries between corresponding sulcal shapes between cortical hemispheres. For this purpose, we automatically generate 26 sulcal curves for 24 subject brains and then compute their invariant shape representation. Left-right sulcal shape symmetry as measured by the shape representation's metric demonstrates the utility of the presented invariant representation for shape analysis of the cortical folding pattern.
Medical image computing and computer-assisted intervention : MICCAI ... International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention. 01/2012; 15(Pt 3):607-14.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sulcal folds (sulci) on the cortical surface are important landmarks of interest for investigating brain development and disease. Accurate and automatic delineation of the sulci is a challenging problem due to substantial variability in their shapes across populations. We present a geodesic curvature flow method for an automatic and accurate delineation of sulcal curves. We assume as input an atlas brain surface mesh on which a set of sulcal curves have been delineated. The sulcal curves are transferred to approximate corresponding locations on the subject brain using a transformation defined by an automatic surface based registration method. The locations of these curves are then refined to follow the true sulcal fundi more closely using geodesic curvature flow on the cortical surface. We present a level set based formulation of this flow on non-flat surfaces which represents the sulcal curves as zero level sets. We also incorporate a curvature based weighting that drives the sulcal curves to the bottoms of the sulcal valleys in the cortical folds. The resulting PDE is discretized on a triangulated mesh using finite elements. Finally, we present a validation by comparing sets of automatically delineated sul-cal curves with sets of manually delineated sulcal curves and show that the proposed method is able to find them accurately.
Biomedical Imaging (ISBI), 2012 9th IEEE International Symposium on; 01/2012
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Center for Computational Biology (CCB) is a multidisciplinary program where biomedical scientists, engineers, and clinicians work jointly to combine modern mathematical and computational techniques, to perform phenotypic and genotypic studies of biological structure, function, and physiology in health and disease. CCB has developed a computational framework built around the Manifold Atlas, an integrated biomedical computing environment that enables statistical inference on biological manifolds. These manifolds model biological structures, features, shapes, and flows, and support sophisticated morphometric and statistical analyses. The Manifold Atlas includes tools, workflows, and services for multimodal population-based modeling and analysis of biological manifolds. The broad spectrum of biomedical topics explored by CCB investigators include the study of normal and pathological brain development, maturation and aging, discovery of associations between neuroimaging and genetic biomarkers, and the modeling, analysis, and visualization of biological shape, form, and size. CCB supports a wide range of short-term and long-term collaborations with outside investigators, which drive the center's computational developments and focus the validation and dissemination of CCB resources to new areas and scientific domains.
Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 11/2011; 19(2):202-6. · 3.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Segmenting brain from non-brain tissue within magnetic resonance (MR) images of the human head, also known as skull-stripping, is a critical processing step in the analysis of neuroimaging data. Though many algorithms have been developed to address this problem, challenges remain. In this paper, we apply the “deformable organism” framework to the skull-stripping problem. Within this framework, deformable models are equipped with higher-level control mechanisms based on the principles of artificial life, including sensing, reactive behavior, knowledge representation, and proactive planning. Our new deformable organisms are governed by a high-level plan aimed at the fully-automated segmentation of various parts of the head in MR imagery, and they are able to cooperate in computing a robust and accurate segmentation. We applied our segmentation approach to a test set of human MRI data using manual delineations of the data as a reference “gold standard.” We compare these results with results from three widely used methods using set-similarity metrics.
Proceedings of the 8th IEEE International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging: From Nano to Macro, ISBI 2011, March 30 - April 2, 2011, Chicago, Illinois, USA; 01/2011
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: For pre-clinical bioluminescence or fluorescence optical tomography, the animal's surface topography and internal anatomy need to be estimated for improving the quantitative accuracy of reconstructed images. The animal's surface profile can be measured by all-optical systems, but estimation of the internal anatomy using optical techniques is non-trivial. A 3D anatomical mouse atlas may be warped to the estimated surface. However, fitting an atlas to surface topography data is challenging because of variations in the posture and morphology of imaged mice. In addition, acquisition of partial data (for example, from limited views or with limited sampling) can make the warping problem ill-conditioned. Here, we present a method for fitting a deformable mouse atlas to surface topographic range data acquired by an optical system. As an initialization procedure, we match the posture of the atlas to the posture of the mouse being imaged using landmark constraints. The asymmetric L(2) pseudo-distance between the atlas surface and the mouse surface is then minimized in order to register two data sets. A Laplacian prior is used to ensure smoothness of the surface warping field. Once the atlas surface is normalized to match the range data, the internal anatomy is transformed using elastic energy minimization. We present results from performance evaluation studies of our method where we have measured the volumetric overlap between the internal organs delineated directly from MRI or CT and those estimated by our proposed warping scheme. Computed Dice coefficients indicate excellent overlap in the brain and the heart, with fair agreement in the kidneys and the bladder.
Physics in Medicine and Biology 09/2010; 55(20):6197-214. · 2.70 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A new method for tissue classification of brain magnetic resonance images (MRI) of the brain is proposed. The method is based on local image models where each models the image content in a subset of the image domain. With this local modeling approach, the assumption that tissue types have the same characteristics over the brain needs not to be evoked. This is important because tissue type characteristics, such as T1 and T2 relaxation times and proton density, vary across the individual brain and the proposed method offers improved protection against intensity non-uniformity artifacts that can hamper automatic tissue classification methods in brain MRI. A framework in which local models for tissue intensities and Markov Random Field (MRF) priors are combined into a global probabilistic image model is introduced. This global model will be an inhomogeneous MRF and it can be solved by standard algorithms such as iterative conditional modes. The division of the whole image domain into local brain regions possibly having different intensity statistics is realized via sub-volume probabilistic atlases. Finally, the parameters for the local intensity models are obtained without supervision by maximizing the weighted likelihood of a certain finite mixture model. For the maximization task, a novel genetic algorithm almost free of initialization dependency is applied. The algorithm is tested on both simulated and real brain MR images. The experiments confirm that the new method offers a useful improvement of the tissue classification accuracy when the basic tissue characteristics vary across the brain and the noise level of the images is reasonable. The method also offers better protection against intensity non-uniformity artifact than the corresponding method based on a global (whole image) modeling scheme.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging 05/2010; 28(4):557-73. · 2.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Flat mapping based cortical surface registration constrained by manually traced sulcal curves has been widely used for inter subject comparisons of neuroanatomical data. Even for an experienced neuroanatomist, manual sulcal tracing can be quite time consuming, with the cost increasing with the number of sulcal curves used for registration. We present a method for estimation of an optimal subset of size N(C) from N possible candidate sulcal curves that minimizes a mean squared error metric over all combinations of N(C) curves. The resulting procedure allows us to estimate a subset with a reduced number of curves to be traced as part of the registration procedure leading to optimal use of manual labeling effort for registration. To minimize the error metric we analyze the correlation structure of the errors in the sulcal curves by modeling them as a multivariate Gaussian distribution. For a given subset of sulci used as constraints in surface registration, the proposed model estimates registration error based on the correlation structure of the sulcal errors. The optimal subset of constraint curves consists of the N(C) sulci that jointly minimize the estimated error variance for the subset of unconstrained curves conditioned on the N(C) constraint curves. The optimal subsets of sulci are presented and the estimated and actual registration errors for these subsets are computed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Methods and tools for visualizing biological data have improved considerably over the last decades, but they are still inadequate for some high-throughput data sets. For most users, a key challenge is to benefit from the deluge of data without being overwhelmed by it. This challenge is still largely unfulfilled and will require the development of truly integrated and highly useable tools.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Advances in imaging techniques and high-throughput technologies are providing scientists with unprecedented possibilities to visualize internal structures of cells, organs and organisms and to collect systematic image data characterizing genes and proteins on a large scale. To make the best use of these increasingly complex and large image data resources, the scientific community must be provided with methods to query, analyze and crosslink these resources to give an intuitive visual representation of the data. This review gives an overview of existing methods and tools for this purpose and highlights some of their limitations and challenges.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Brain connectivity patterns are useful in understanding brain function and organization. Anatomical brain connectivity is largely determined using the physical synaptic connections between neurons. In contrast statistical brain connectivity in a given brain population refers to the interaction and interdependencies of statistics of multitudes of brain features including cortical area, volume, thickness etc. Traditionally, this dependence has been studied by statistical correlations of cortical features. In this paper, we propose the use of Bayesian network modeling for inferring statistical brain connectivity patterns that relate to causal (directed) as well as non-causal (undirected) relationships between cortical surface areas. We argue that for multivariate cortical data, the Bayesian model provides for a more accurate representation by removing the effect of confounding correlations that get introduced due to canonical dependence between the data. Results are presented for a population of 466 brains, where a SEM (structural equation modeling) approach is used to generate a Bayesian network model, as well as a dependency graph for the joint distribution of cortical areas.