Three-dimensional brain fiber tracking modeling in diffusion tensor imaging

Danmary Sanchez, Florida International University


This dissertation establishes the foundation for a new 3-D visual interface integrating Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI). The need for such an interface is critical for understanding brain dynamics, and for providing more accurate diagnosis of key brain dysfunctions in terms of neuronal connectivity. This work involved two research fronts: (1) the development of new image processing and visualization techniques in order to accurately establish relational positioning of neuronal fiber tracts and key landmarks in 3-D brain atlases, and (2) the obligation to address the computational requirements such that the processing time is within the practical bounds of clinical settings. The system was evaluated using data from thirty patients and volunteers with the Brain Institute at Miami Children's Hospital. Innovative visualization mechanisms allow for the first time white matter fiber tracts to be displayed alongside key anatomical structures within accurately registered 3-D semi-transparent images of the brain. The segmentation algorithm is based on the calculation of mathematically-tuned thresholds and region-detection modules. The uniqueness of the algorithm is in its ability to perform fast and accurate segmentation of the ventricles. In contrast to the manual selection of the ventricles, which averaged over 12 minutes, the segmentation algorithm averaged less than 10 seconds in its execution. The registration algorithm established searches and compares MR with DT images of the same subject, where derived correlation measures quantify the resulting accuracy. Overall, the images were 27% more correlated after registration, while an average of 1.5 seconds is all it took to execute the processes of registration, interpolation, and re-slicing of the images all at the same time and in all the given dimensions. This interface was fully embedded into a fiber-tracking software system in order to establish an optimal research environment. This highly integrated 3-D visualization system reached a practical level that makes it ready for clinical deployment.

Subject Area

Electrical engineering|Biomedical research

Recommended Citation

Sanchez, Danmary, "Three-dimensional brain fiber tracking modeling in diffusion tensor imaging" (2006). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3217580.