The Laboratory of Mathematics in Imaging (LMI) is focused on the application of mathematical theory, analysis, modeling, and signal processing to medical imaging. Research projects within the group cover both novel theoretical contributions and translational clinical efforts. The research team combine strengths in computer science and mathematics with radiology, neuroscience, and novel MRI sequence developmentLearn more

Recent Publications

Abnormalities in gray matter microstructure in young adults with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome

Kikinis Z, Makris N, Sydnor VJ, Bouix S, Pasternak O, Coman IL, Antshel KM, Fremont W, Kubicki MR, Shenton ME, et al. Abnormalities in gray matter microstructure in young adults with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. Neuroimage Clin. 2019;21 :101611.Abstract
BACKGROUND: 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q11DS) is a genetic, neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by a chromosomal deletion and a distinct cognitive profile. Although abnormalities in the macrostructure of the cortex have been identified in individuals with 22q11DS, it is not known if there are additional microstructural changes in gray matter regions in this syndrome, and/or if such microstructural changes are associated with cognitive functioning. METHODS: This study employed a novel diffusion MRI measure, the Heterogeneity of Fractional Anisotropy (HFA), to examine variability in the microstructural organization of the cortex in healthy young adults (N = 30) and those with 22q11DS (N = 56). Diffusion MRI, structural MRI, clinical and cognitive data were acquired. RESULTS: Compared to controls, individuals with 22q11DS evinced increased HFA in cortical association (p = .003, d = 0.86) and paralimbic (p < .0001, d = 1.2) brain areas, whereas no significant differences were found between the two groups in primary cortical brain areas. Additionally, increased HFA of the right paralimbic area was associated with poorer performance on tests of response inhibition, i.e., the Stroop Test (rho = -0.37 p = .005) and the Gordon Diagnostic System Vigilance Commission (rho = -0.41 p = .002) in the 22q11DS group. No significant correlations were found between HFA and cognitive abilities in the healthy control group. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that cortical microstructural disorganization may be a neural correlate of response inhibition in individuals with 22q11DS. Given that the migration pattern of neural crest cells is disrupted at the time of early brain development in 22q11DS, we hypothesize that these neural alterations may be neurodevelopmental in origin, and reflect cortical dysfunction associated with cognitive deficits.
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White matter microstructural abnormalities and default network degeneration are associated with early memory deficit in Alzheimer's disease continuum

Ji F, Pasternak O, Ng KK, Chong JSX, Liu S, Zhang L, Shim HY, Loke YM, Tan BY, Venketasubramanian N, et al. White matter microstructural abnormalities and default network degeneration are associated with early memory deficit in Alzheimer's disease continuum. Sci Rep. 2019;9 (1) :4749.Abstract
Instead of assuming a constant relationship between brain abnormalities and memory impairment, we aimed to examine the stage-dependent contributions of multimodal brain structural and functional deterioration to memory impairment in the Alzheimer's disease (AD) continuum. We assessed grey matter volume, white matter (WM) microstructural measures (free-water (FW) and FW-corrected fractional anisotropy), and functional connectivity of the default mode network (DMN) in 54 amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) and 46 AD. We employed a novel sparse varying coefficient model to investigate how the associations between abnormal brain measures and memory impairment varied throughout disease continuum. We found lower functional connectivity in the DMN was related to worse memory across AD continuum. Higher widespread white matter FW and lower fractional anisotropy in the fornix showed a stronger association with memory impairment in the early aMCI stage; such WM-memory associations then decreased with increased dementia severity. Notably, the effect of the DMN atrophy occurred in early aMCI stage, while the effect of the medial temporal atrophy occurred in the AD stage. Our study provided evidence to support the hypothetical progression models underlying memory dysfunction in AD cascade and underscored the importance of FW increases and DMN degeneration in early stage of memory deficit.
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Tensor-valued diffusion encoding for diffusional variance decomposition (DIVIDE): Technical feasibility in clinical MRI systems

Szczepankiewicz F, Sjölund J, Ståhlberg F, Lätt J, Nilsson M. Tensor-valued diffusion encoding for diffusional variance decomposition (DIVIDE): Technical feasibility in clinical MRI systems. PLoS One. 2019;14 (3) :e0214238.Abstract
Microstructure imaging techniques based on tensor-valued diffusion encoding have gained popularity within the MRI research community. Unlike conventional diffusion encoding-applied along a single direction in each shot-tensor-valued encoding employs diffusion encoding along multiple directions within a single preparation of the signal. The benefit is that such encoding may probe tissue features that are not accessible by conventional encoding. For example, diffusional variance decomposition (DIVIDE) takes advantage of tensor-valued encoding to probe microscopic diffusion anisotropy independent of orientation coherence. The drawback is that tensor-valued encoding generally requires gradient waveforms that are more demanding on hardware; it has therefore been used primarily in MRI systems with relatively high performance. The purpose of this work was to explore tensor-valued diffusion encoding on clinical MRI systems with varying performance to test its technical feasibility within the context of DIVIDE. We performed whole-brain imaging with linear and spherical b-tensor encoding at field strengths between 1.5 and 7 T, and at maximal gradient amplitudes between 45 and 80 mT/m. Asymmetric gradient waveforms were optimized numerically to yield b-values up to 2 ms/μm2. Technical feasibility was assessed in terms of the repeatability, SNR, and quality of DIVIDE parameter maps. Variable system performance resulted in echo times between 83 to 115 ms and total acquisition times of 6 to 9 minutes when using 80 signal samples and resolution 2×2×4 mm3. As expected, the repeatability, signal-to-noise ratio and parameter map quality depended on hardware performance. We conclude that tensor-valued encoding is feasible for a wide range of MRI systems-even at 1.5 T with maximal gradient waveform amplitudes of 33 mT/m-and baseline experimental design and quality parameters for all included configurations. This demonstrates that tissue features, beyond those accessible by conventional diffusion encoding, can be explored on a wide range of MRI systems.
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Short-term effects experienced during examinations in an actively shielded 7 T MR

Hansson B, Höglund P, Markenroth Bloch K, Nilsson M, Olsrud J, Wilén J, Björkman-Burtscher IM. Short-term effects experienced during examinations in an actively shielded 7 T MR. Bioelectromagnetics. 2019.Abstract
The objective of this study was to evaluate occurrence and strength of short-term effects experienced by study participants in an actively shielded (AS) 7 tesla (7 T) magnetic resonance (MR) scanner, to compare results with earlier reports on passively shielded (PS) 7 T MR scanners, and to outline possible healthcare strategies to improve patient compliance. Study participants (n = 124) completed a web-based questionnaire directly after being examined in an AS 7 T MR (n = 154 examinations). Most frequently experienced short-term effects were dizziness (84%) and inconsistent movement (70%), especially while moving into or out of the magnet. Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS)-twitching-was experienced in 67% of research examinations and showed a dependence between strength of twitches and recorded predicted PNS values. Of the participants, 74% experienced noise levels as acceptable and the majority experienced body and room temperature as comfortable. Of the study participants, 95% felt well-informed and felt they had had good contact with the staff before the examination. Willingness to undergo a future 7 T examination was high (>90%). Our study concludes short-term effects are often experienced during examinations in an AS 7 T MR, leaving room for improvement in nursing care strategies to increase patient compliance. Bioelectromagnetics. 2019;9999:XX-XX. © 2019 The Authors. Bioelectromagnetics Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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Orientationally-averaged diffusion-attenuated magnetic resonance signal for locally-anisotropic diffusion

Herberthson M, Yolcu C, Knutsson H, Westin C-F, Özarslan E. Orientationally-averaged diffusion-attenuated magnetic resonance signal for locally-anisotropic diffusion. Sci Rep. 2019;9 (1) :4899.Abstract
Diffusion-attenuated MR signal for heterogeneous media has been represented as a sum of signals from anisotropic Gaussian sub-domains to the extent that this approximation is permissible. Any effect of macroscopic (global or ensemble) anisotropy in the signal can be removed by averaging the signal values obtained by differently oriented experimental schemes. The resulting average signal is identical to what one would get if the micro-domains are isotropically (e.g., randomly) distributed with respect to orientation, which is the case for "powdered" specimens. We provide exact expressions for the orientationally-averaged signal obtained via general gradient waveforms when the microdomains are characterized by a general diffusion tensor possibly featuring three distinct eigenvalues. This extends earlier results which covered only axisymmetric diffusion as well as measurement tensors. Our results are expected to be useful in not only multidimensional diffusion MR but also solid-state NMR spectroscopy due to the mathematical similarities in the two fields.
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Space-time variant weighted regularization in compressed sensing cardiac cine MRI

Godino-Moya A, Royuela-Del-Val J, Usman M, Menchón-Lara R-M, Martín-Fernández M, Prieto C, Alberola-López C. Space-time variant weighted regularization in compressed sensing cardiac cine MRI. Magn Reson Imaging. 2019;58 :44-55.Abstract
PURPOSE: To analyze the impact on image quality and motion fidelity of a motion-weighted space-time variant regularization term in compressed sensing cardiac cine MRI. METHODS: k-t SPARSE-SENSE with temporal total variation (tTV) is used as the base reconstruction algorithm. Motion in the dynamic image is estimated by means of a robust registration technique for non-rigid motion. The resulting deformation fields are used to leverage the regularization term. The results are compared with standard k-t SPARSE-SENSE with tTV regularization as well as with an improved version of this algorithm that makes use of tTV and temporal Fast Fourier Transform regularization in x-f domain. RESULTS: The proposed method with space-time variant regularization provides higher motion fidelity and image quality than the two previously reported methods. Difference images between undersampled reconstruction and fully sampled reference images show less systematic errors with the proposed approach. CONCLUSIONS: Usage of a space-time variant regularization offers reconstructions with better image quality than the state of the art approaches used for comparison.
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