Perpendicular fiber tracking for fiber bundle analysis

Date(s) - 03/06/2012
11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Siddharth Ray, BME MS Thesis Student

Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) is a well accepted Magnetic Resonance (MR) imaging technique that can non-invasively analyze the diffusivity patterns of water in neural tissue and visualize neural fiber tracts inside the brain. However, the majority of existing fiber tracking techniques ignores the secondary and tertiary orientations of diffusion, which contain significant information on the local patterns of diffusion, and also have not been adopted for clinical use due to a variety of reasons, including high computational demands and high complexity involved to analyze neural fiber tracking information. In this work I introduce the idea of perpendicular fiber tracking, for neural fiber bundle analysis, and I present a novel dynamic programming method that traces surfaces, locally perpendicular to axonal fibers. This is achieved in our technique by using a cost function with a geometric as well as a fiber orientation term that is evaluated dynamically at the entire image domain starting from a given seed point. The proposed method is validated using synthetic DW-MRI datasets and is then applied to real brain datasets. The results demonstrate the accuracy and effectiveness of our method. The presented technique can be used for fiber bundle segmentation, as a clinical tool for neural fiber analysis, and potentially as a biomarker for various brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease. The outcome may also be applied to improve modeling of cancer cell migration.