Multivalued geodesic ray-tracing for computing brain connections using diffusion tensor imaging

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Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a magnetic resonance technique used to explore anatomical fibrous structures, like brain white matter. Fiber-tracking methods use the diffusion tensor (DT) field to reconstruct the corresponding fibrous structure. A group of fiber-tracking methods trace geodesics on a Riemannian manifold whose metric is defined as a function of the DT. These methods are more robust to noise than more commonly used methods where just the main eigenvector of the DT is considered. Until now, geodesic-based methods were not able to resolve all geodesics, since they solved the Eikonal equation, and therefore were not able to deal with multivalued solutions. Our algorithm computes multivalued solutions using an Euler–Lagrange form of the geodesic equations. The multivalued solutions become relevant in regions with sharp anisotropy and complex geometries, or when the first arrival time does not describe the geodesic close to the anatomical fibrous structure. In this paper, we compare our algorithm with the commonly used Hamilton–Jacobi (HJ) equation approach. We describe and analyze the characteristics of both methods. In the analysis we show that in cases where, e.g., U-shaped bundles appear, our algorithm can capture the underlying fiber structure, while other approaches will fail. A feasibility study with results for synthetic and real data is shown.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-504
JournalSIAM Journal on Imaging Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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