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Regional Spatial Normalization: Toward an Optimal Target

Kochunov, Peter; Lancaster, Jack L.; Thompson, Paul; Woods, Roger; Mazziotta, John; Hardies, Jean; Fox, Peter

Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography: September/October 2001 - Volume 25 - Issue 5 - pp 805-816
Image Processing

Purpose: The purpose of this work was to develop methods for defining, constructing, and evaluating a “minimal deformation target” (MDT) brain for multisubject studies based on analysis of the entire group. The goal is to provide a procedure that will create a standard, reproducible target brain image based on common features of a group of three-dimensional MR brain images.

Method: The average deformation and dispersion distance, derived from discrete three-dimensional deformation fields (DFs), are used to identify the best individual target (BIT) brain. This brain is assumed to be the one with the minimal deformation bias within a group of MR brain images. The BIT brain is determined as the one with the minimal target quality score, our cost function based on the deformation displacement and dispersion distance. The BIT brain is then transformed to the MDT brain using an average DF to create an optimized target brain. This analysis requires the calculation of a large number of DFs. To overcome this limitation, we developed an analysis method (the fast method) that reduces the task from order N2 complexity to one of order N, a tremendous advantage for large-N studies.

Results: Multiscale correlation analysis in a group of 20 subjects demonstrated the superiority of warping using the MDT target brain, made from the BIT brain, over several individual and MDT-transformed target brains also from the group.

Conclusion: Analysis of three-dimensional DF provides a means to quickly create a reproducible MDT target brain for any set of subjects. Warping to the MDT target was shown by an independent multiscale correlation method to produce superior results.

From the Research Imaging Center, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX (P. Kochunov, J. L. Lancaster, J. Hardies, and P. Fox), and Brain Mapping Center, Department of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA (P. Thompson, R. Woods, and J. Mazziotta), U.S.A.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. J. L. Lancaster at Research Imaging Center, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Dr., San Antonio, TX 78284, U.S.A. E-mail:

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.