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Magn Reson Imaging ; 2019 Apr 17.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31004711


This paper presents an open-source pipeline to train neural networks to segment structures of interest from MRI data. The pipeline is tailored towards homogeneous datasets and requires relatively low amounts of manual segmentations (few dozen, or less depending on the homogeneity of the dataset). Two use-case scenarios for segmenting the spinal cord white and grey matter are presented: one in marmosets with variable numbers of lesions, and the other in the publicly available human grey matter segmentation challenge [1]. The pipeline is freely available at:

Brain ; 142(3): 633-646, 2019 Mar 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30715195


Spinal cord lesions detected on MRI hold important diagnostic and prognostic value for multiple sclerosis. Previous attempts to correlate lesion burden with clinical status have had limited success, however, suggesting that lesion location may be a contributor. Our aim was to explore the spatial distribution of multiple sclerosis lesions in the cervical spinal cord, with respect to clinical status. We included 642 suspected or confirmed multiple sclerosis patients (31 clinically isolated syndrome, and 416 relapsing-remitting, 84 secondary progressive, and 73 primary progressive multiple sclerosis) from 13 clinical sites. Cervical spine lesions were manually delineated on T2- and T2*-weighted axial and sagittal MRI scans acquired at 3 or 7 T. With an automatic publicly-available analysis pipeline we produced voxelwise lesion frequency maps to identify predilection sites in various patient groups characterized by clinical subtype, Expanded Disability Status Scale score and disease duration. We also measured absolute and normalized lesion volumes in several regions of interest using an atlas-based approach, and evaluated differences within and between groups. The lateral funiculi were more frequently affected by lesions in progressive subtypes than in relapsing in voxelwise analysis (P < 0.001), which was further confirmed by absolute and normalized lesion volumes (P < 0.01). The central cord area was more often affected by lesions in primary progressive than relapse-remitting patients (P < 0.001). Between white and grey matter, the absolute lesion volume in the white matter was greater than in the grey matter in all phenotypes (P < 0.001); however when normalizing by each region, normalized lesion volumes were comparable between white and grey matter in primary progressive patients. Lesions appearing in the lateral funiculi and central cord area were significantly correlated with Expanded Disability Status Scale score (P < 0.001). High lesion frequencies were observed in patients with a more aggressive disease course, rather than long disease duration. Lesions located in the lateral funiculi and central cord area of the cervical spine may influence clinical status in multiple sclerosis. This work shows the added value of cervical spine lesions, and provides an avenue for evaluating the distribution of spinal cord lesions in various patient groups.

Neuroimage ; 184: 901-915, 2019 01 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30300751


The spinal cord is frequently affected by atrophy and/or lesions in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Segmentation of the spinal cord and lesions from MRI data provides measures of damage, which are key criteria for the diagnosis, prognosis, and longitudinal monitoring in MS. Automating this operation eliminates inter-rater variability and increases the efficiency of large-throughput analysis pipelines. Robust and reliable segmentation across multi-site spinal cord data is challenging because of the large variability related to acquisition parameters and image artifacts. In particular, a precise delineation of lesions is hindered by a broad heterogeneity of lesion contrast, size, location, and shape. The goal of this study was to develop a fully-automatic framework - robust to variability in both image parameters and clinical condition - for segmentation of the spinal cord and intramedullary MS lesions from conventional MRI data of MS and non-MS cases. Scans of 1042 subjects (459 healthy controls, 471 MS patients, and 112 with other spinal pathologies) were included in this multi-site study (n = 30). Data spanned three contrasts (T1-, T2-, and T2∗-weighted) for a total of 1943 vol and featured large heterogeneity in terms of resolution, orientation, coverage, and clinical conditions. The proposed cord and lesion automatic segmentation approach is based on a sequence of two Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs). To deal with the very small proportion of spinal cord and/or lesion voxels compared to the rest of the volume, a first CNN with 2D dilated convolutions detects the spinal cord centerline, followed by a second CNN with 3D convolutions that segments the spinal cord and/or lesions. CNNs were trained independently with the Dice loss. When compared against manual segmentation, our CNN-based approach showed a median Dice of 95% vs. 88% for PropSeg (p ≤ 0.05), a state-of-the-art spinal cord segmentation method. Regarding lesion segmentation on MS data, our framework provided a Dice of 60%, a relative volume difference of -15%, and a lesion-wise detection sensitivity and precision of 83% and 77%, respectively. In this study, we introduce a robust method to segment the spinal cord and intramedullary MS lesions on a variety of MRI contrasts. The proposed framework is open-source and readily available in the Spinal Cord Toolbox.

Processamento de Imagem Assistida por Computador/métodos , Esclerose Múltipla/diagnóstico por imagem , Esclerose Múltipla/patologia , Redes Neurais (Computação) , Medula Espinal/patologia , Humanos , Imagem por Ressonância Magnética/métodos , Variações Dependentes do Observador , Reconhecimento Automatizado de Padrão , Reprodutibilidade dos Testes , Sensibilidade e Especificidade
Med Image Anal ; 44: 215-227, 2018 02.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29288983


During the last two decades, MRI has been increasingly used for providing valuable quantitative information about spinal cord morphometry, such as quantification of the spinal cord atrophy in various diseases. However, despite the significant improvement of MR sequences adapted to the spinal cord, automatic image processing tools for spinal cord MRI data are not yet as developed as for the brain. There is nonetheless great interest in fully automatic and fast processing methods to be able to propose quantitative analysis pipelines on large datasets without user bias. The first step of most of these analysis pipelines is to detect the spinal cord, which is challenging to achieve automatically across the broad range of MRI contrasts, field of view, resolutions and pathologies. In this paper, a fully automated, robust and fast method for detecting the spinal cord centerline on MRI volumes is introduced. The algorithm uses a global optimization scheme that attempts to strike a balance between a probabilistic localization map of the spinal cord center point and the overall spatial consistency of the spinal cord centerline (i.e. the rostro-caudal continuity of the spinal cord). Additionally, a new post-processing feature, which aims to automatically split brain and spine regions is introduced, to be able to detect a consistent spinal cord centerline, independently from the field of view. We present data on the validation of the proposed algorithm, known as "OptiC", from a large dataset involving 20 centers, 4 contrasts (T2-weighted n = 287, T1-weighted n = 120, T2∗-weighted n = 307, diffusion-weighted n = 90), 501 subjects including 173 patients with a variety of neurologic diseases. Validation involved the gold-standard centerline coverage, the mean square error between the true and predicted centerlines and the ability to accurately separate brain and spine regions. Overall, OptiC was able to cover 98.77% of the gold-standard centerline, with a mean square error of 1.02 mm. OptiC achieved superior results compared to a state-of-the-art spinal cord localization technique based on the Hough transform, especially on pathological cases with an averaged mean square error of 1.08 mm vs. 13.16 mm (Wilcoxon signed-rank test p-value < .01). Images containing brain regions were identified with a 99% precision, on which brain and spine regions were separated with a distance error of 9.37 mm compared to ground-truth. Validation results on a challenging dataset suggest that OptiC could reliably be used for subsequent quantitative analyses tasks, opening the door to more robust analysis on pathological cases.