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

Multi-atlas and label fusion approach for patient-specific MRI based skull estimation.

Torrado-Carvajal A, Herraiz JL, Hernandez-Tamames JA, San Jose-Estepar R, Eryaman Y, Rozenholc Y, Adalsteinsson E, Wald LL, Malpica N. Multi-atlas and label fusion approach for patient-specific MRI based skull estimation. Magn Reson Med. 2015.Abstract
PURPOSE: MRI-based skull segmentation is a useful procedure for many imaging applications. This study describes a methodology for automatic segmentation of the complete skull from a single T1-weighted volume. METHODS: The skull is estimated using a multi-atlas segmentation approach. Using a whole head computed tomography (CT) scan database, the skull in a new MRI volume is detected by nonrigid image registration of the volume to every CT, and combination of the individual segmentations by label-fusion. We have compared Majority Voting, Simultaneous Truth and Performance Level Estimation (STAPLE), Shape Based Averaging (SBA), and the Selective and Iterative Method for Performance Level Estimation (SIMPLE) algorithms. RESULTS: The pipeline has been evaluated quantitatively using images from the Retrospective Image Registration Evaluation database (reaching an overlap of 72.46 ± 6.99%), a clinical CT-MR dataset (maximum overlap of 78.31 ± 6.97%), and a whole head CT-MRI pair (maximum overlap 78.68%). A qualitative evaluation has also been performed on MRI acquisition of volunteers. CONCLUSION: It is possible to automatically segment the complete skull from MRI data using a multi-atlas and label fusion approach. This will allow the creation of complete MRI-based tissue models that can be used in electromagnetic dosimetry applications and attenuation correction in PET/MR. Magn Reson Med, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Altered Neurochemistry in Former Professional Soccer Players without a History of Concussion.

Koerte IK, Lin AP, Muehlmann M, Merugumala S, Liao HJ, Starr T, Kaufmann D, Mayinger M, Steffinger D, Fisch B, et al. Altered Neurochemistry in Former Professional Soccer Players without a History of Concussion. J Neurotrauma. 2015.Abstract
Soccer is played by more than 250 million people worldwide. Repeatedly heading the ball may place soccer players at high risk for repetitive subconcussive head impacts (RSHI). This study evaluates the long-term effects of RSHI on neurochemistry in athletes without a history of clinically diagnosed concussion, but with a high exposure to RSHI. Eleven former professional soccer players (mean age 52.0±6.8 years) and a comparison cohort of 14 age- and gender-matched, former non-contact sport athletes (mean age 46.9±7.9 years) underwent 3T magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and neurocognitive evaluation. In the soccer players a significant increase was observed in both choline (Cho), a membrane marker, and myo-inositol (ml), a marker of glial activation, compared with control athletes. Additionally, ml and glutathione (GSH) were significantly correlated with lifetime estimate of RSHI within the soccer group. There was no significant difference in neurocognitive tests between groups. Results of this study suggest an association between RSHI in soccer players and MRS markers of neuroinflammation, suggesting that even subconcussive head impacts affect the neurochemistry of the brain and may precede neurocognitive changes. Future studies will need to determine the role of neuroinflammation in RSHI and the effect on neurocognitive function.

Patient-specific biomechanical model as whole-body CT image registration tool.

Li M, Miller K, Joldes GR, Doyle B, Garlapati RR, Kikinis R, Wittek A. Patient-specific biomechanical model as whole-body CT image registration tool. Med Image Anal. 2015;22(1):22-34.Abstract
Whole-body computed tomography (CT) image registration is important for cancer diagnosis, therapy planning and treatment. Such registration requires accounting for large differences between source and target images caused by deformations of soft organs/tissues and articulated motion of skeletal structures. The registration algorithms relying solely on image processing methods exhibit deficiencies in accounting for such deformations and motion. We propose to predict the deformations and movements of body organs/tissues and skeletal structures for whole-body CT image registration using patient-specific non-linear biomechanical modelling. Unlike the conventional biomechanical modelling, our approach for building the biomechanical models does not require time-consuming segmentation of CT scans to divide the whole body into non-overlapping constituents with different material properties. Instead, a Fuzzy C-Means (FCM) algorithm is used for tissue classification to assign the constitutive properties automatically at integration points of the computation grid. We use only very simple segmentation of the spine when determining vertebrae displacements to define loading for biomechanical models. We demonstrate the feasibility and accuracy of our approach on CT images of seven patients suffering from cancer and aortic disease. The results confirm that accurate whole-body CT image registration can be achieved using a patient-specific non-linear biomechanical model constructed without time-consuming segmentation of the whole-body images.

Reduced Bone Density and Vertebral Fractures in Smokers. Men and COPD Patients at Increased Risk.

Jaramillo JD, Wilson C, Stinson DJ, Lynch DA, Bowler RP, Lutz S, Bon JM, Arnold B, McDonald M-LN, Washko GR, et al. Reduced Bone Density and Vertebral Fractures in Smokers. Men and COPD Patients at Increased Risk. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2015;12(5):648-56.Abstract
RATIONALE: Former smoking history and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are potential risk factors for osteoporosis and fractures. Under existing guidelines for osteoporosis screening, women are included but men are not, and only current smoking is considered. OBJECTIVES: To demonstrate the impact of COPD and smoking history on the risk of osteoporosis and vertebral fracture in men and women. METHODS: Characteristics of participants with low volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD) were identified and related to COPD and other risk factors. We tested associations of sex and COPD with both vBMD and fractures adjusting for age, race, body mass index (BMI), smoking, and glucocorticoid use. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: vBMD by calibrated quantitative computed tomography (QCT), visually scored vertebral fractures, and severity of lung disease were determined from chest CT scans of 3,321 current and ex-smokers in the COPDGene study. Low vBMD as a surrogate for osteoporosis was calculated from young adult normal values. Male smokers had a small but significantly greater risk of low vBMD (2.5 SD below young adult mean by calibrated QCT) and more fractures than female smokers. Low vBMD was present in 58% of all subjects, was more frequent in those with worse COPD, and rose to 84% among subjects with very severe COPD. Vertebral fractures were present in 37% of all subjects and were associated with lower vBMD at each Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease stage of severity. Vertebral fractures were most common in the midthoracic region. COPD and especially emphysema were associated with both low vBMD and vertebral fractures after adjustment for steroid use, age, pack-years of smoking, current smoking, and exacerbations. Airway disease was associated with higher bone density after adjustment for other variables. Calibrated QCT identified more subjects with abnormal values than the standard dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in a subset of subjects and correlated well with prevalent fractures. CONCLUSIONS: Male smokers, with or without COPD, have a significant risk of low vBMD and vertebral fractures. COPD was associated with low vBMD after adjusting for race, sex, BMI, smoking, steroid use, exacerbations, and age. Screening for low vBMD by using QCT in men and women who are smokers will increase opportunities to identify and treat osteoporosis in this at-risk population.

Lung Cancer Workshop XI: Tobacco-Induced Disease: Advances in Policy, Early Detection and Management.

Mulshine JL, Avila R, Yankelevitz D, Baer TM, Estépar RSJ, Ambrose LF, Aldigé CR. Lung Cancer Workshop XI: Tobacco-Induced Disease: Advances in Policy, Early Detection and Management. J Thorac Oncol. 2015;10(5):762-7.Abstract
The Prevent Cancer Foundation Lung Cancer Workshop XI: Tobacco-Induced Disease: Advances in Policy, Early Detection and Management was held in New York, NY on May 16 and 17, 2014. The two goals of the Workshop were to define strategies to drive innovation in precompetitive quantitative research on the use of imaging to assess new therapies for management of early lung cancer and to discuss a process to implement a national program to provide high quality computed tomography imaging for lung cancer and other tobacco-induced disease. With the central importance of computed tomography imaging for both early detection and volumetric lung cancer assessment, strategic issues around the development of imaging and ensuring its quality are critical to ensure continued progress against this most lethal cancer.