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  • Sairanen, V.; Leemans, A.; Tax, C. M. W. (2018)
    The accurate characterization of the diffusion process in tissue using diffusion MRI is greatly challenged by the presence of artefacts. Subject motion causes not only spatial misalignments between diffusion weighted images, but often also slicewise signal intensity errors. Voxelwise robust model estimation is commonly used to exclude intensity errors as outliers. Slicewise outliers, however, become distributed over multiple adjacent slices after image registration and transformation. This challenges outlier detection with voxelwise procedures due to partial volume effects. Detecting the outlier slices before any transformations are applied to diffusion weighted images is therefore required. In this work, we present i) an automated tool coined SOLID for slicewise outlier detection prior to geometrical image transformation, and ii) a framework to naturally interpret data uncertainty information from SOLID and include it as such in model estimators. SOLID uses a straightforward intensity metric, is independent of the choice of the diffusion MRI model, and can handle datasets with a few or irregularly distributed gradient directions. The SOLID-informed estimation framework prevents the need to completely reject diffusion weighted images or individual voxel measurements by downweighting measurements with their degree of uncertainty, thereby supporting convergence and well-conditioning of iterative estimation algorithms. In comprehensive simulation experiments, SOLID detects outliers with a high sensitivity and specificity, and can achieve higher or at least similar sensitivity and specificity compared to other tools that are based on more complex and time-consuming procedures for the scenarios investigated. SOLID was further validated on data from 54 neonatal subjects which were visually inspected for outlier slices with the interactive tool developed as part of this study, showing its potential to quickly highlight problematic volumes and slices in large population studies. The informed model estimation framework was evaluated both in simulations and in vivo human data.
  • Nousiainen, Katri; Mäkelä, Teemu (2020)
    Objective We aimed to develop a vendor-neutral and interaction-free quality assurance protocol for measuring geometric accuracy of head and brain magnetic resonance (MR) images. We investigated the usability of nonrigid image registration in the analysis and looked for the optimal registration parameters. Materials and methods We constructed a 3D-printed phantom and imaged it with 12 MR scanners using clinical sequences. We registered a geometric-ground-truth computed tomography (CT) acquisition to the MR images using an open-source nonrigid-registration-toolbox with varying parameters. We applied the transforms to a set of control points in the CT image and compared their locations to the corresponding visually verified reference points in the MR images. Results With optimized registration parameters, the mean difference (and standard deviation) of control point locations when compared to the reference method was (0.17 +/- 0.02) mm for the 12 studied scanners. The maximum displacements varied from 0.50 to 1.35 mm or 0.89 to 2.30 mm, with vendors' distortion correction on or off, respectively. Discussion Using nonrigid CT-MR registration can provide a robust and relatively test-object-agnostic method for estimating the intra- and inter-scanner variations of the geometric distortions.
  • Ruotsalainen, Ilona; Gorbach, Tetiana; Perkola, Jaana; Renvall, Ville; Syväoja, Heidi J.; Tammelin, Tuija H.; Karvanen, Juha; Parviainen, Tiina (2020)
    Physical activity and exercise beneficially link to brain properties and cognitive functions in older adults, but the findings concerning adolescents remain tentative. During adolescence, the brain undergoes significant changes, which are especially pronounced in white matter. Studies provide contradictory evidence regarding the influence of physical activity or aerobic-exercise on executive functions in youth. Little is also known about the link between both fitness and physical activity with the brain’s white matter during puberty. We investigated the connection between aerobic fitness and physical activity with the white matter in 59 adolescents. We further determined whether white matter interacts with the connection of fitness or physical activity with core executive functions. Our results show that only the level of aerobic fitness, but not of physical activity relates to white matter. Furthermore, the white matter of the corpus callosum and the right superior corona radiata moderates the links of aerobic fitness and physical activity with working memory. Our results suggest that aerobic fitness and physical activity have an unequal contribution to the white matter properties in adolescents. We propose that the differences in white matter properties could underlie the variations in the relationship between either physical activity or aerobic fitness with working memory.