About

The Laboratory of Mathematics in Imaging (LMI) is focused on the application of mathematical theory, analysis, modeling, and signal processing to medical imaging applications. Research projects within the group cover computational and visual display research, and research on novel imaging and treatment methods within the BWH Department of Radiology. Modeling, and the development of novel and efficient technology based on those models, lie at the heart of our research goals. Learn more

Recent Publications

New insights about time-varying diffusivity and its estimation from diffusion MRI.

Ning L, Setsompop K, Westin C-F, Rathi Y. New insights about time-varying diffusivity and its estimation from diffusion MRI. Magn Reson Med. 2016.Abstract
PURPOSE: Characterizing the relation between the applied gradient sequences and the measured diffusion MRI signal is important for estimating the time-dependent diffusivity, which provides important information about the microscopic tissue structure. THEORY AND METHODS: In this article, we extend the classical theory of Stepišnik for measuring time-dependent diffusivity under the Gaussian phase approximation. In particular, we derive three novel expressions which represent the diffusion MRI signal in terms of the mean-squared displacement, the instantaneous diffusivity, and the velocity autocorrelation function. We present the explicit signal expressions for the case of single diffusion encoding and oscillating gradient spin-echo sequences. Additionally, we also propose three different models to represent time-varying diffusivity and test them using Monte-Carlo simulations and in vivo human brain data. RESULTS: The time-varying diffusivities are able to distinguish the synthetic structures in the Monte-Carlo simulations. There is also strong statistical evidence about time-varying diffusivity from the in vivo human data set. CONCLUSION: The proposed theory provides new insights into our understanding of the time-varying diffusivity using different gradient sequences. The proposed models for representing time-varying diffusivity can be utilized to study time-varying diffusivity using in vivo human brain diffusion MRI data. Magn Reson Med, 2016. © 2016 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

Impact of Sex and Menopausal Status on Episodic Memory Circuitry in Early Midlife.

Jacobs EG, Weiss BK, Makris N, Whitfield-Gabrieli S, Buka SL, Klibanski A, Goldstein JM. Impact of Sex and Menopausal Status on Episodic Memory Circuitry in Early Midlife. J Neurosci. 2016;36 (39) :10163-73.Abstract
UNLABELLED: Cognitive neuroscience of aging studies traditionally target participants age 65 and older. However, epidemiological surveys show that many women report increased forgetfulness earlier in the aging process, as they transition to menopause. In this population-based fMRI study, we stepped back by over a decade to characterize the changes in memory circuitry that occur in early midlife, as a function of sex and women's reproductive stage. Participants (N = 200; age range, 45-55) performed a verbal encoding task during fMRI scanning. Reproductive histories and serologic evaluations were used to determine menopausal status. Results revealed a pronounced impact of reproductive stage on task-evoked hippocampal responses, despite minimal difference in chronological age. Next, we examined the impact of sex and reproductive stage on functional connectivity across task-related brain regions. Postmenopausal women showed enhanced bilateral hippocampal connectivity relative to premenopausal and perimenopausal women. Across women, lower 17β-estradiol concentrations were related to more pronounced alterations in hippocampal connectivity and poorer performance on a subsequent memory retrieval task, strongly implicating sex steroids in the regulation of this circuitry. Finally, subgroup analyses revealed that high-performing postmenopausal women (relative to low and middle performers) exhibited a pattern of brain activity akin to premenopausal women. Together, these findings underscore the importance of considering reproductive stage, not simply chronological age, to identify neuronal and cognitive changes that unfold in the middle decades of life. In keeping with preclinical studies, these human findings suggest that the decline in ovarian estradiol production during menopause plays a significant role in shaping memory circuitry. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Maintaining intact memory function with age is one of the greatest public health challenges of our time, and women have an increased risk for memory disorders relative to men later in life. We studied adults early in the aging process, as women transition into menopause, to identify neuronal and cognitive changes that unfold in the middle decades of life. Results demonstrate regional and network-level differences in memory encoding-related activity as a function of women's reproductive stage, independent of chronological age. Analyzing data without regard to sex or menopausal status obscured group differences in circuit-level neural strategies associated with successful memory retrieval. These findings suggest that early changes in memory circuitry are evident decades before the age range traditionally targeted by cognitive neuroscience of aging studies.

Arterial and Venous Pulmonary Vascular Morphology and Their Relationship to Findings in Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Smokers.

Rahaghi FN, Wells MJ, Come CE, De La Bruere IA, Bhatt SP, Ross JC, Vegas-Sánchez-Ferrero G, Diaz AA, Minhas J, Dransfield MT, et al. Arterial and Venous Pulmonary Vascular Morphology and Their Relationship to Findings in Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Smokers. J Comput Assist Tomogr. 2016.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: Prior work has described the relationship between pulmonary vascular pruning on computed tomography (CT) scans and metrics of right-sided heart dysfunction in smokers. In this analysis, we sought to look at pruning on a lobar level, as well as examine the effect of the arterial and venous circulation on this association. METHODS: Automated vessel segmentation applied to noncontrast CT scans from the COPDGene Study in 24 subjects with cardiac magnetic resonance imaging scans was used to create a blood volume distribution profile. These vessels were then manually tracked to their origin and characterized as artery or vein. RESULTS: Assessment of pruning on a lobar level revealed associations between pruning and right ventricular function previously not observed on a global level. The right ventricular mass index, the right ventricular end-systolic volume index, and pulmonary arterial-to-aorta ratio were associated with both arterial and venous pruning, whereas right ventricular ejection fraction was associated with only arterial pruning. CONCLUSIONS: Lobar assessment and segmentation of the parenchymal vasculature into arterial and venous components provide additional information about the relationship between loss of vasculature on CT scans and right ventricular dysfunction.

Mathematical abilities in dyslexic children: a diffusion tensor imaging study.

Koerte IK, Willems A, Muehlmann M, Moll K, Cornell S, Pixner S, Steffinger D, Keeser D, Heinen F, Kubicki M, et al. Mathematical abilities in dyslexic children: a diffusion tensor imaging study. Brain Imaging Behav. 2016;10 (3) :781-91.Abstract
Dyslexia is characterized by a deficit in language processing which mainly affects word decoding and spelling skills. In addition, children with dyslexia also show problems in mathematics. However, for the latter, the underlying structural correlates have not been investigated. Sixteen children with dyslexia (mean age 9.8 years [0.39]) and 24 typically developing children (mean age 9.9 years [0.29]) group matched for age, gender, IQ, and handedness underwent 3 T MR diffusion tensor imaging as well as cognitive testing. Tract-Based Spatial Statistics were performed to correlate behavioral data with diffusion data. Children with dyslexia performed worse than controls in standardized verbal number tasks, such as arithmetic efficiency tests (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division). In contrast, the two groups did not differ in the nonverbal number line task. Arithmetic efficiency, representing the total score of the four arithmetic tasks, multiplication, and division, correlated with diffusion measures in widespread areas of the white matter, including bilateral superior and inferior longitudinal fasciculi in children with dyslexia compared to controls. Children with dyslexia demonstrated lower performance in verbal number tasks but performed similarly to controls in a nonverbal number task. Further, an association between verbal arithmetic efficiency and diffusion measures was demonstrated in widespread areas of the white matter suggesting compensatory mechanisms in children with dyslexia compared to controls. Taken together, poor fact retrieval in children with dyslexia is likely a consequence of deficits in the language system, which not only affects literacy skills but also impacts on arithmetic skills.

Mapping temporo-parietal and temporo-occipital cortico-cortical connections of the human middle longitudinal fascicle in subject-specific, probabilistic, and stereotaxic Talairach spaces.

Makris N, Zhu A, Papadimitriou GM, Mouradian P, Ng I, Scaccianoce E, Baselli G, Baglio F, Shenton ME, Rathi Y, et al. Mapping temporo-parietal and temporo-occipital cortico-cortical connections of the human middle longitudinal fascicle in subject-specific, probabilistic, and stereotaxic Talairach spaces. Brain Imaging Behav. 2016.Abstract
Originally, the middle longitudinal fascicle (MdLF) was defined as a long association fiber tract connecting the superior temporal gyrus and temporal pole with the angular gyrus. More recently its description has been expanded to include all long postrolandic cortico-cortical association connections of the superior temporal gyrus and dorsal temporal pole with the parietal and occipital lobes. Despite its location and size, which makes MdLF one of the most prominent cerebral association fiber tracts, its discovery in humans is recent. Given the absence of a gold standard in humans for this fiber tract, its precise and complete connectivity remains to be determined with certainty. In this study using high angular resolution diffusion MRI (HARDI), we delineated for the first time, six major fiber connections of the human MdLF, four of which are temporo-parietal and two temporo-occipital, by examining morphology, topography, cortical connections, biophysical measures, volume and length in seventy brains. Considering the cortical affiliations of the different connections of MdLF we suggested that this fiber tract may be related to language, attention and integrative higher level visual and auditory processing associated functions. Furthermore, given the extensive connectivity provided to superior temporal gyrus and temporal pole with the parietal and occipital lobes, MdLF may be involved in several neurological and psychiatric conditions such as primary progressive aphasia and other aphasic syndromes, some forms of behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia, atypical forms of Alzheimer's disease, corticobasal degeneration, schizophrenia as well as attention-deficit/hyperactivity Disorder and neglect disorders.

Dissolution state of cellulose in aqueous systems. 2. Acidic solvents.

Alves L, Medronho B, Antunes FE, Topgaard D, Lindman B. Dissolution state of cellulose in aqueous systems. 2. Acidic solvents. Carbohydr Polym. 2016;151 :707-15.Abstract
Cellulose is insoluble in water but can be dissolved in strong acidic or alkaline conditions. How well dissolved cellulose is in solution and how it organizes are key questions often neglected in literature. The typical low pH required for dissolving cellulose in acidic solvents limits the use of typical characterization techniques. In this respect, Polarization Transfer Solid State NMR (PT ssNMR) emerges as a reliable alternative. In this work, combining PT ssNMR, microscopic techniques and X-ray diffraction, a set of different acidic systems (phosphoric acid/water, sulfuric acid/glycerol and zinc chloride/water) is investigated. The studied solvent systems are capable to efficiently dissolve cellulose, although degradation occurs to some extent. PT ssNMR is capable to identify the liquid and solid fractions of cellulose, the degradation products and it is also sensitive to gelation. The materials regenerated from the acidic dopes were found to be highly sensitive to the solvent system and to the presence of amphiphilic additives in solution.
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