Thalamic atrophy has been associated with exposure to repetitive head impacts (RHI) in professional fighters. The aim of this study is to investigate whether or not age at first exposure (AFE) to RHI is associated with thalamic volume in symptomatic former National Football League (NFL) players at risk for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Eighty-six symptomatic former NFL players (mean age = 54.9 ± 7.9 years) were included. T1-weighted data were acquired on a 3T magnetic resonance imager, and thalamic volumes were derived using FreeSurfer. Mood and behavior, psychomotor speed, and visual and verbal memory were assessed. The association between thalamic volume and AFE to playing football and to number of years playing was calculated. Decreased thalamic volume was associated with more years of play (left: p = 0.03; right: p = 0.03). Younger AFE was associated with decreased right thalamic volume (p = 0.014). This association remained significant after adjusting for total years of play. Decreased left thalamic volume was associated with worse visual memory (p = 0.014), whereas increased right thalamic volume was associated with fewer mood and behavior symptoms (p = 0.003). In our sample of symptomatic former NFL players at risk for CTE, total years of play and AFE were associated with decreased thalamic volume. The effect of AFE on right thalamic volume was almost twice as strong as the effect of total years of play. Our findings confirm previous reports of an association between thalamic volume and exposure to RHI. They suggest further that younger AFE may result in smaller thalamic volume later in life.
Neuroimaging studies demonstrate gray matter (GM) macrostructural abnormalities in patients with schizophrenia (SCZ). While ex-vivo and genetic studies suggest cellular pathology associated with abnormal neurodevelopmental processes in SCZ, few in-vivo measures have been proposed to target microstructural GM organization. Here, we use diffusion heterogeneity- to study GM microstructure in SCZ. Structural and diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were acquired on a 3 Tesla scanner in 46 patients with SCZ and 37 matched healthy controls (HC). After correction for free water, diffusion heterogeneity as well as commonly used diffusion measures FA and MD and volume were calculated for the four cortical lobes on each hemisphere, and compared between groups. Patients with early course SCZ exhibited higher diffusion heterogeneity in the GM of the frontal lobes compared to controls. Diffusion heterogeneity of the frontal lobe showed excellent discrimination between patients and HC, while none of the commonly used diffusion measures such as FA or MD did. Higher diffusion heterogeneity in the frontal lobes in early SCZ may be due to abnormal brain maturation (migration, pruning) before and during adolescence and early adulthood. Further studies are needed to investigate the role of heterogeneity as potential biomarker for SCZ risk.
PURPOSE: This study was a systematic evaluation across different and prominent diffusion MRI models to better understand the ways in which scalar metrics are influenced by experimental factors, including experimental design (diffusion-weighted imaging [DWI] sampling) and noise. METHODS: Four diffusion MRI models-diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI), mean apparent propagator MRI (MAP-MRI), and neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging (NODDI)-were evaluated by comparing maps and histogram values of the scalar metrics generated using DWI datasets obtained in fixed mouse brain with different noise levels and DWI sampling complexity. Additionally, models were fit with different input parameters or constraints to examine the consequences of model fitting procedures. RESULTS: Experimental factors affected all models and metrics to varying degrees. Model complexity influenced sensitivity to DWI sampling and noise, especially for metrics reporting non-Gaussian information. DKI metrics were highly susceptible to noise and experimental design. The influence of fixed parameter selection for the NODDI model was found to be considerable, as was the impact of initial tensor fitting in the MAP-MRI model. CONCLUSION: Across DTI, DKI, MAP-MRI, and NODDI, a wide range of dependence on experimental factors was observed that elucidate principles and practical implications for advanced diffusion MRI.
PURPOSE: Accurate segmentation of lung nodules is crucial in the development of imaging biomarkers for predicting malignancy of the nodules. Manual segmentation is time consuming and affected by inter-observer variability. We evaluated the robustness and accuracy of a publically available semiautomatic segmentation algorithm that is implemented in the 3D Slicer Chest Imaging Platform (CIP) and compared it with the performance of manual segmentation.
METHODS: CT images of 354 manually segmented nodules were downloaded from the LIDC database. Four radiologists performed the manual segmentation and assessed various nodule characteristics. The semiautomatic CIP segmentation was initialized using the centroid of the manual segmentations, thereby generating four contours for each nodule. The robustness of both segmentation methods was assessed using the region of uncertainty (δ) and Dice similarity index (DSI). The robustness of the segmentation methods was compared using the Wilcoxon-signed rank test (pWilcoxon<0.05). The Dice similarity index (DSIAgree) between the manual and CIP segmentations was computed to estimate the accuracy of the semiautomatic contours.
RESULTS: The median computational time of the CIP segmentation was 10 s. The median CIP and manually segmented volumes were 477 ml and 309 ml, respectively. CIP segmentations were significantly more robust than manual segmentations (median δCIP = 14ml, median dsiCIP = 99% vs. median δmanual = 222ml, median dsimanual = 82%) with pWilcoxon~10-16. The agreement between CIP and manual segmentations had a median DSIAgree of 60%. While 13% (47/354) of the nodules did not require any manual adjustment, minor to substantial manual adjustments were needed for 87% (305/354) of the nodules. CIP segmentations were observed to perform poorly (median DSIAgree≈50%) for non-/sub-solid nodules with subtle appearances and poorly defined boundaries.
CONCLUSION: Semi-automatic CIP segmentation can potentially reduce the physician workload for 13% of nodules owing to its computational efficiency and superior stability compared to manual segmentation. Although manual adjustment is needed for many cases, CIP segmentation provides a preliminary contour for physicians as a starting point.
We propose a method for the automated identification of key white matter fiber tracts for neurosurgical planning, and we apply the method in a retrospective study of 18 consecutive neurosurgical patients with brain tumors. Our method is designed to be relatively robust to challenges in neurosurgical tractography, which include peritumoral edema, displacement, and mass effect caused by mass lesions. The proposed method has two parts. First, we learn a data-driven white matter parcellation or fiber cluster atlas using groupwise registration and spectral clustering of multi-fiber tractography from healthy controls. Key fiber tract clusters are identified in the atlas. Next, patient-specific fiber tracts are automatically identified using tractography-based registration to the atlas and spectral embedding of patient tractography. Results indicate good generalization of the data-driven atlas to patients: 80% of the 800 fiber clusters were identified in all 18 patients, and 94% of the 800 fiber clusters were found in 16 or more of the 18 patients. Automated subject-specific tract identification was evaluated by quantitative comparison to subject-specific motor and language functional MRI, focusing on the arcuate fasciculus (language) and corticospinal tracts (motor), which were identified in all patients. Results indicate good colocalization: 89 of 95, or 94%, of patient-specific language and motor activations were intersected by the corresponding identified tract. All patient-specific activations were within 3mm of the corresponding language or motor tract. Overall, our results indicate the potential of an automated method for identifying fiber tracts of interest for neurosurgical planning, even in patients with mass lesions.
We introduce a novel Bayesian nonparametric model that uses the concept of disease trajectories for disease subtype identification. Although our model is general, we demonstrate that by treating fractions of tissue patterns derived from medical images as compositional data, our model can be applied to study distinct progression trends between population subgroups. Specifically, we apply our algorithm to quantitative emphysema measurements obtained from chest CT scans in the COPDGene Study and show several distinct progression patterns. As emphysema is one of the major components of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the third leading cause of death in the United States , an improved definition of emphysema and COPD subtypes is of great interest. We investigate several models with our algorithm, and show that one with age , pack years (a measure of cigarette exposure), and smoking status as predictors gives the best compromise between estimated predictive performance and model complexity. This model identified nine subtypes which showed significant associations to seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) known to associate with COPD. Additionally, this model gives better predictive accuracy than multiple, multivariate ordinary least squares regression as demonstrated in a five-fold cross validation analysis. We view our subtyping algorithm as a contribution that can be applied to bridge the gap between CT-level assessment of tissue composition to population-level analysis of compositional trends that vary between disease subtypes.
Experts have previously postulated a linkage between lupus associated vascular pathology and abnormal brain barriers in the immunopathogenesis of neuropsychiatric lupus. Nevertheless, there are some discrepancies between the experimental evidence, or its interpretation, and the working hypotheses prevalent in this field; specifically, that a primary contributor to neuropsychiatric disease in lupus is permeabilization of the blood brain barrier. In this commonly held view, any contribution of the other known brain barriers, including the blood-cerebrospinal fluid and meningeal barriers, is mostly excluded from the discussion. In this review we will shed light on some of the blood brain barrier hypotheses and try to trace their roots. In addition, we will suggest new research directions to allow for confirmation of alternative interpretations of the experimental evidence linking the pathology of intra-cerebral vasculature to the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric lupus.
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies in chronic schizophrenia have found widespread but often inconsistent patterns of white matter abnormalities. These studies have typically used the conventional measure of fractional anisotropy, which can be contaminated by extracellular free-water. A recent free-water imaging study reported reduced free-water corrected fractional anisotropy (FAT) in chronic schizophrenia across several brain regions, but limited changes in the extracellular volume. The present study set out to validate these findings in a substantially larger sample. Tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) was performed in 188 healthy controls and 281 chronic schizophrenia patients. Forty-two regions of interest (ROIs), as well as average whole-brain FAT and FW were extracted from free-water corrected diffusion tensor maps. Compared to healthy controls, reduced FAT was found in the chronic schizophrenia group in the anterior limb of the internal capsule bilaterally, the posterior thalamic radiation bilaterally, as well as the genu and body of the corpus callosum. While a significant main effect of group was observed for FW, none of the follow-up contrasts survived correction for multiple comparisons. The observed FAT reductions in the absence of extracellular FW changes, in a large, multi-site sample of chronic schizophrenia patients, validate the pattern of findings reported by a previous, smaller free-water imaging study of a similar sample. The limited number of regions in which FAT was reduced in the schizophrenia group suggests that actual white matter tissue degeneration in chronic schizophrenia, independent of extracellular FW, might be more localized than suggested previously.
Diffusion tensor imaging studies report childhood adversity (CA) is associated with reduced fractional anisotropy (FA) in multiple white matter tracts in adults. Reduced FA may result from changes in tissue, suggesting myelin/axonal damage, and/or from increased levels of extracellular free-water, suggesting atrophy or neuroinflammation. Free-water imaging can separately identify FA in tissue (FAT) and the fractional volume of free-water (FW). We tested whether CA was associated with altered FA, FAT, and FW in seven white matter regions of interest (ROI), in which FA changes had been previously linked to CA (corona radiata, corpus callosum, fornix, cingulum bundle: hippocampal projection, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, superior longitudinal fasciculus, uncinate fasciculus). Tract-based spatial statistics were performed in 147 psychiatrically healthy adults who had completed a self-report questionnaire on CA primarily stemming from parental maltreatment. ROI were extracted according to the protocol provided by the ENIGMA-DTI working group. Analyses were performed both treating CA as a continuous and a categorical variable. CA was associated with reduced FA in all ROI (although categorical analyses failed to find an association in the fornix). In contrast, CA was only associated with reduced FAT in the corona radiata, corpus callosum, and uncinate fasciculus (with the continuous measure of CA finding evidence of a negative relation between CA and FAT in the fornix). There was no association between CA on FW in any ROI. These results provide preliminary evidence that childhood adversity is associated with changes to the microstructure of white matter itself in adulthood. However, these results should be treated with caution until they can be replicated by future studies which address the limitations of the present study.
BACKGROUND: Smoking-related lung injury may manifest on CT scans as both emphysema and interstitial changes. We have developed an automated method to quantify interstitial changes and hypothesized that this measurement would be associated with lung function, quality of life, mortality, and a mucin 5B (MUC5B) polymorphism.
METHODS: Using CT scans from the Genetic Epidemiology of COPD Study, we objectively labeled lung parenchyma as a tissue subtype. We calculated the percentage of the lung occupied by interstitial subtypes.
RESULTS: A total of 8,345 participants had clinical and CT scanning data available. A 5% absolute increase in interstitial changes was associated with an absolute decrease in FVC % predicted of 2.47% (P < .001) and a 1.36-point higher St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire score (P < .001). Among the 6,827 participants with mortality data, a 5% increase in interstitial changes was associated with a 29% increased risk of death (P < .001). These associations were present in a subgroup without visually defined interstitial lung abnormalities, as well as in those with normal spirometric test results, and in those without chronic respiratory symptoms. In non-Hispanic whites, for each copy of the minor allele of the MUC5B promoter polymorphism, there was a 0.64% (P < .001) absolute increase in the percentage of lung with interstitial changes.
CONCLUSIONS: Objective interstitial changes on CT scans were associated with impaired lung function, worse quality of life, increased mortality, and more copies of a MUC5B promoter polymorphism, suggesting that these changes may be a marker of susceptibility to smoking-related lung injury, detectable even in those who are healthy by other measures.
PURPOSE: To evaluate and compare the volumetric tumor burden changes during crizotinib therapy in mice and human cohorts with ALK-rearranged non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
METHODS: Volumetric tumor burden was quantified on serial imaging studies in 8 bitransgenic mice with ALK-rearranged adenocarcinoma treated with crizotinib, and in 33 human subjects with ALK-rearranged NSCLC treated with crizotinib. The volumetric tumor burden changes and the time to maximal response were compared between mice and humans.
RESULTS: The median tumor volume decrease (%) at the maximal response was -40.4% (range: -79.5%-+11.7%) in mice, and -72.9% (range: -100%-+72%) in humans (Wilcoxon p=0.03). The median time from the initiation of therapy to maximal response was 6 weeks in mice, and 15.7 weeks in humans. Overall volumetric response rate was 50% in mice and 97% in humans. Spider plots of tumor volume changes during therapy demonstrated durable responses in the human cohort, with a median time on therapy of 13.1 months.
CONCLUSION: The present study described an initial attempt to evaluate quantitative tumor burden changes in co-clinical imaging studies of genomically-matched mice and human cohorts with ALK-rearranged NSCLC treated with crizotinib. Differences are noted in the degree of maximal volume response between the two cohorts in this well-established paradigm of targeted therapy, indicating a need for further studies to optimize co-clinical trial design and interpretation.
INTRODUCTION: Cortical mean diffusivity (MD) and free water fraction (FW) changes are proposed biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease (AD).
METHODS: We included healthy control subjects (N = 254), mild cognitive impairment (N = 41), and AD dementia (N = 31) patients. Participants underwent a lumbar puncture and a 3 T magnetic resonance imaging. Healthy control subjects were classified following National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer's Association stages (stage 0, N = 220; stage 1, N = 25; and stage 2/3, N = 9). We assessed the cortical MD, cortical FW, and cortical thickness (CTh) changes along the AD continuum.
RESULTS: Microstructural and macrostructural changes show a biphasic trajectory. Stage 1 subjects showed increased CTh and decreased MD and FW with respect the stage 0 subjects. Stage 2/3 subjects showed decreased CTh and increased cortical MD and FW, changes that were more widespread in symptomatic stages.
DISCUSSION: These results support a biphasic model of changes in AD, which could affect the selection of patients for clinical trials and the use of magnetic resonance imaging as a surrogate marker of disease modification.
A recent Editorial in Cognitive Neuroscience reconsiders the findings of our work on the accuracy of false positive rate control with cluster inference in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), in particular criticizing our use of resting-state fMRI as a source for null data in the evaluation of task fMRI methods. We defend this use of resting fMRI data, as while there is much structure in this data, we argue it is representative of task data noise and task analysis software should be able to accommodate this noise. We also discuss a potential problem with Slotnick's own method.
BACKGROUND: Prior studies of clinical prognostication in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) using computed tomography (CT) have often used subjective analyses or have evaluated quantitative measures in isolation. This study examined associations between both densitometric and local histogram based quantitative CT measurements with pulmonary function test (PFT) parameters and mortality. In addition, this study sought to compare risk prediction scores that incorporate quantitative CT measures with previously described systems.
METHODS: Forty six patients with biopsy proven IPF were identified from a registry of patients with interstitial lung disease at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA. CT scans for each subject were visually scored using a previously published method. After a semi-automated method was used to segment the lungs from the surrounding tissue, densitometric measurements including the percent high attenuating area, mean lung density, skewness and kurtosis were made for the entirety of each patient's lungs. A separate, automated tool was used to detect and quantify the percent of lung occupied by interstitial lung features. These analyses were used to create clinical and quantitative CT based risk prediction scores, and the performance of these was compared to the performance of clinical and visual analysis based methods.
RESULTS: All of the densitometric measures were correlated with forced vital capacity and diffusing capacity, as were the total amount of interstitial change and the percentage of interstitial change that was honeycombing measured using the local histogram method. Higher percent high attenuating area, higher mean lung density, lower skewness, lower kurtosis and a higher percentage of honeycombing were associated with worse transplant free survival. The quantitative CT based risk prediction scores performed similarly to the clinical and visual analysis based methods.
CONCLUSIONS: Both densitometric and feature based quantitative CT measures correlate with pulmonary function test measures and are associated with transplant free survival. These objective measures may be useful for identifying high risk patients and monitoring disease progression. Further work will be needed to validate these measures and the quantitative imaging based risk prediction scores in other cohorts.
PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: There is a need to understand pathologic processes of the brain following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Previous studies report axonal injury and oedema in the first week after injury in a rodent model. This study aims to investigate the processes occurring 1 week after injury at the time of regeneration and degeneration using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in the impact acceleration rat mTBI model. RESEARCH DESIGN: Eighteen rats were subjected to impact acceleration injury, and three rats served as sham controls. Seven days post injury, DTI was acquired from fixed rat brains using a 7T scanner. Group comparison of Fractional Anisotropy (FA) values between traumatized and sham animals was performed using Tract-Based Spatial Statistics (TBSS), a method that we adapted for rats. MAIN OUTCOMES AND RESULTS: TBSS revealed white matter regions of the brain with increased FA values in the traumatized versus sham rats, localized mainly to the contrecoup region. Regions of increased FA included the pyramidal tract, the cerebral peduncle, the superior cerebellar peduncle and to a lesser extent the fibre tracts of the corpus callosum, the anterior commissure, the fimbria of the hippocampus, the fornix, the medial forebrain bundle and the optic chiasm. CONCLUSION: Seven days post injury, during the period of tissue reparation in the impact acceleration rat model of mTBI, microstructural changes to white matter can be detected using DTI.
BACKGROUND: Diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI) allows for assessment of diffusion influenced by microcellular structures. We analyzed DKI in suspected low-grade gliomas prior to histopathological diagnosis. The aim was to investigate if diffusion parameters in the perilesional normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) differed from contralesional white matter, and to investigate differences between glioma malignancy grades II and III and glioma subtypes (astrocytomas and oligodendrogliomas).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Forty-eight patients with suspected low-grade glioma were prospectively recruited to this institutional review board-approved study and investigated with preoperative DKI at 3T after written informed consent. Patients with histologically proven glioma grades II or III were further analyzed (n=35). Regions of interest (ROIs) were delineated on T2FLAIR images and co-registered to diffusion MRI parameter maps. Mean DKI data were compared between perilesional and contralesional NAWM (student's t-test for dependent samples, Wilcoxon matched pairs test). Histogram DKI data were compared between glioma types and glioma grades (multiple comparisons of mean ranks for all groups). The discriminating potential for DKI in assessing glioma type and grade was assessed with receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curves.
RESULTS: There were significant differences in all mean DKI variables between perilesional and contralesional NAWM (p=<0.000), except for axial kurtosis (p=0.099). Forty-four histogram variables differed significantly between glioma grades II (n=23) and III (n=12) (p=0.003-0.048) and 10 variables differed significantly between ACs (n=18) and ODs (n=17) (p=0.011-0.050). ROC curves of the best discriminating variables had an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.657-0.815.
CONCLUSIONS: Mean DKI variables in perilesional NAWM differ significantly from contralesional NAWM, suggesting altered microstructure by tumor infiltration not depicted on morphological MRI. Histogram analysis of DKI data identifies differences between glioma grades and subtypes.
A large number of mathematical models have been proposed to describe the measured signal in diffusion-weighted (DW) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, model comparison to date focuses only on specific subclasses, e.g. compartment models or signal models, and little or no information is available in the literature on how performance varies among the different types of models. To address this deficiency, we organized the 'White Matter Modeling Challenge' during the International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging (ISBI) 2015 conference. This competition aimed to compare a range of different kinds of models in their ability to explain a large range of measurable in vivo DW human brain data. Specifically, we assessed the ability of models to predict the DW signal accurately for new diffusion gradients and b values. We did not evaluate the accuracy of estimated model parameters, as a ground truth is hard to obtain. We used the Connectome scanner at the Massachusetts General Hospital, using gradient strengths of up to 300 mT/m and a broad set of diffusion times. We focused on assessing the DW signal prediction in two regions: the genu in the corpus callosum, where the fibres are relatively straight and parallel, and the fornix, where the configuration of fibres is more complex. The challenge participants had access to three-quarters of the dataset and their models were ranked on their ability to predict the remaining unseen quarter of the data. The challenge provided a unique opportunity for a quantitative comparison of diverse methods from multiple groups worldwide. The comparison of the challenge entries reveals interesting trends that could potentially influence the next generation of diffusion-based quantitative MRI techniques. The first is that signal models do not necessarily outperform tissue models; in fact, of those tested, tissue models rank highest on average. The second is that assuming a non-Gaussian (rather than purely Gaussian) noise model provides little improvement in prediction of unseen data, although it is possible that this may still have a beneficial effect on estimated parameter values. The third is that preprocessing the training data, here by omitting signal outliers, and using signal-predicting strategies, such as bootstrapping or cross-validation, could benefit the model fitting. The analysis in this study provides a benchmark for other models and the data remain available to build up a more complete comparison in the future.
BACKGROUND: In smokers, the lung parenchyma is characterized by inflammation and emphysema, processes that can result in local gain and loss of lung tissue. CT measures of lung density might reflect lung tissue changes; however, longitudinal data regarding the effects of CT lung tissue on FEV1 in smokers with and without COPD are scarce.
METHODS: The 15th percentile of CT lung density was obtained from the scans of 3,390 smokers who completed baseline and 5-year follow-up of the Genetic Epidemiology of COPD (COPDGene) study visits. The longitudinal relationship between total lung capacity-adjusted lung density (TLC-PD15) and FEV1 was assessed by using multivariable mixed models. Separate models were performed in smokers at risk, smokers with preserved ratio and impaired spirometry (PRISm), and smokers with COPD according to the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) staging system.
RESULTS: The direction of the relationship between lung density and lung function was GOLD stage dependent. In smokers with PRISm, a 1-g/L decrease in TLC-PD15 was associated with an increase of 2.8 mL FEV1 (P = .02). In contrast, among smokers with GOLD III to IV COPD, a 1-g/L decrease in TLC-PD15 was associated with a decrease of 4.1 mL FEV1 (P = .002).
CONCLUSIONS: A decline in TLC-PD15 was associated with an increase or decrease in FEV1 depending on disease severity. The associations are GOLD stage specific, and their presence might influence the interpretation of future studies that use CT lung density as an intermediate study end point for a decline in lung function.
TRIAL REGISTRY: ClinicalTrials.gov; No.: NCT00608764; URL: www.clinicaltrials.gov).