Computation Research Publications

Marc Niethammer, Kilian M Pohl, Firdaus Janoos, and William M Wells. 2017. “Active Mean Fields for Probabilistic Image Segmentation: Connections with Chan-Vese and Rudin-Osher-Fatemi Models.” SIAM J. Imaging Sci., 10, 3, Pp. 1069–1103.Abstract
Segmentation is a fundamental task for extracting semantically meaningful regions from an image. The goal of segmentation algorithms is to accurately assign object labels to each image location. However, image noise, shortcomings of algorithms, and image ambiguities cause uncertainty in label assignment. Estimating this uncertainty is important in multiple application domains, such as segmenting tumors from medical images for radiation treatment planning. One way to estimate these uncertainties is through the computation of posteriors of Bayesian models, which is computationally prohibitive for many practical applications. However, most computationally efficient methods fail to estimate label uncertainty. We therefore propose in this paper the active mean fields (AMF) approach, a technique based on Bayesian modeling that uses a mean-field approximation to efficiently compute a segmentation and its corresponding uncertainty. Based on a variational formulation, the resulting convex model combines any label-likelihood measure with a prior on the length of the segmentation boundary. A specific implementation of that model is the Chan-Vese segmentation model, in which the binary segmentation task is defined by a Gaussian likelihood and a prior regularizing the length of the segmentation boundary. Furthermore, the Euler-Lagrange equations derived from the AMF model are equivalent to those of the popular Rudin-Osher-Fatemi (ROF) model for image denoising. Solutions to the AMF model can thus be implemented by directly utilizing highly efficient ROF solvers on log-likelihood ratio fields. We qualitatively assess the approach on synthetic data as well as on real natural and medical images. For a quantitative evaluation, we apply our approach to the tt icgbench dataset.
Rahul Sastry, Wenya Linda Bi, Steve Pieper, Sarah Frisken, Tina Kapur, William Wells, and Alexandra J Golby. 2017. “Applications of Ultrasound in the Resection of Brain Tumors.” J Neuroimaging, 27, 1, Pp. 5-15.Abstract

Neurosurgery makes use of preoperative imaging to visualize pathology, inform surgical planning, and evaluate the safety of selected approaches. The utility of preoperative imaging for neuronavigation, however, is diminished by the well-characterized phenomenon of brain shift, in which the brain deforms intraoperatively as a result of craniotomy, swelling, gravity, tumor resection, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drainage, and many other factors. As such, there is a need for updated intraoperative information that accurately reflects intraoperative conditions. Since 1982, intraoperative ultrasound has allowed neurosurgeons to craft and update operative plans without ionizing radiation exposure or major workflow interruption. Continued evolution of ultrasound technology since its introduction has resulted in superior imaging quality, smaller probes, and more seamless integration with neuronavigation systems. Furthermore, the introduction of related imaging modalities, such as 3-dimensional ultrasound, contrast-enhanced ultrasound, high-frequency ultrasound, and ultrasound elastography, has dramatically expanded the options available to the neurosurgeon intraoperatively. In the context of these advances, we review the current state, potential, and challenges of intraoperative ultrasound for brain tumor resection. We begin by evaluating these ultrasound technologies and their relative advantages and disadvantages. We then review three specific applications of these ultrasound technologies to brain tumor resection: (1) intraoperative navigation, (2) assessment of extent of resection, and (3) brain shift monitoring and compensation. We conclude by identifying opportunities for future directions in the development of ultrasound technologies.

Miaomiao Zhang, William M Wells, and Polina Golland. 2017. “Probabilistic Modeling of Anatomical Variability using a Low Dimensional Parameterization of Diffeomorphisms.” Med Image Anal, 41, Pp. 55-62.Abstract
We present an efficient probabilistic model of anatomical variability in a linear space of initial velocities of diffeomorphic transformations and demonstrate its benefits in clinical studies of brain anatomy. To overcome the computational challenges of the high dimensional deformation-based descriptors, we develop a latent variable model for principal geodesic analysis (PGA) based on a low dimensional shape descriptor that effectively captures the intrinsic variability in a population. We define a novel shape prior that explicitly represents principal modes as a multivariate complex Gaussian distribution on the initial velocities in a bandlimited space. We demonstrate the performance of our model on a set of 3D brain MRI scans from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) database. Our model yields a more compact representation of group variation at substantially lower computational cost than the state-of-the-art method such as tangent space PCA (TPCA) and probabilistic principal geodesic analysis (PPGA) that operate in the high dimensional image space.
Mohsen Ghafoorian, Alireza Mehrtash, Tina Kapur, Nico Karssemeijer, Elena Marchiori, Mehran Pesteie, Charles RG Guttmann, Frank-Erik de Leeuw, Clare MC Tempany, Bram van Ginneken, Andriy Fedorov, Purang Abolmaesumi, Bram Plate, and William M Wells. 2017. “Transfer Learning for Domain Adaptation in MRI: Application in Brain Lesion Segmentation.” Int Conf Med Image Comput Comput Assist Interv 20 (Pt3), Pp. 516-24.Abstract
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is widely used in routine clinical diagnosis and treatment. However, variations in MRI acquisition protocols result in different appearances of normal and diseased tissue in the images. Convolutional neural networks (CNNs), which have shown to be successful in many medical image analysis tasks, are typically sensitive to the variations in imaging protocols. Therefore, in many cases, networks trained on data acquired with one MRI protocol, do not perform satisfactorily on data acquired with different protocols. This limits the use of models trained with large annotated legacy datasets on a new dataset with a different domain which is often a recurring situation in clinical settings. In this study, we aim to answer the following central questions regarding domain adaptation in medical image analysis: Given a fitted legacy model, (1) How much data from the new domain is required for a decent adaptation of the original network?; and, (2) What portion of the pre-trained model parameters should be retrained given a certain number of the new domain training samples? To address these questions, we conducted extensive experiments in white matter hyperintensity segmentation task. We trained a CNN on legacy MR images of brain and evaluated the performance of the domain-adapted network on the same task with images from a different domain. We then compared the performance of the model to the surrogate scenarios where either the same trained network is used or a new network is trained from scratch on the new dataset. The domain-adapted network tuned only by two training examples achieved a Dice score of 0.63 substantially outperforming a similar network trained on the same set of examples from scratch.
Ghafoorian MICCAI 2017
Tzu-Cheng Chao, Jr-yuan George Chiou, Stephan E. Maier, and Bruno Madore. 2017. “Fast Diffusion Imaging with High Angular Resolution.” Magn Reson Med, 77, 2, Pp. 696-706.Abstract

PURPOSE: High angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI) is a well-established method to help reveal the architecture of nerve bundles, but long scan times and geometric distortions inherent to echo planar imaging (EPI) have limited its integration into clinical protocols. METHODS: A fast imaging method is proposed here that combines accelerated multishot diffusion imaging (AMDI), multiplexed sensitivity encoding (MUSE), and crossing fiber angular resolution of intravoxel structure (CFARI) to reduce spatial distortions and reduce total scan time. A multishot EPI sequence was used to improve geometrical fidelity as compared to a single-shot EPI acquisition, and acceleration in both k-space and diffusion sampling enabled reductions in scan time. The method is regularized and self-navigated for motion correction. Seven volunteers were scanned in this study, including four with volumetric whole brain acquisitions. RESULTS: The average similarity of microstructural orientations between undersampled datasets and their fully sampled counterparts was above 85%, with scan times below 5 min for whole-brain acquisitions. Up to 2.7-fold scan time acceleration along with four-fold distortion reduction was achieved. CONCLUSION: The proposed imaging strategy can generate HARDI results with relatively good geometrical fidelity and low scan duration, which may help facilitate the transition of HARDI from a successful research tool to a practical clinical one. Magn Reson Med, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Frank Preiswerk, Matthew Toews, Cheng-Chieh Cheng, Jr-yuan George Chiou, Chang-Sheng Mei, Lena F Schaefer, W. Scott Hoge, Benjamin M Schwartz, Lawrence P Panych, and Bruno Madore. 2016. “Hybrid MRI Ultrasound Acquisitions, and Scannerless Real-time Imaging.” Magn Reson Med, 78, 3, Pp. 897-908.Abstract

PURPOSE: To combine MRI, ultrasound, and computer science methodologies toward generating MRI contrast at the high frame rates of ultrasound, inside and even outside the MRI bore. METHODS: A small transducer, held onto the abdomen with an adhesive bandage, collected ultrasound signals during MRI. Based on these ultrasound signals and their correlations with MRI, a machine-learning algorithm created synthetic MR images at frame rates up to 100 per second. In one particular implementation, volunteers were taken out of the MRI bore with the ultrasound sensor still in place, and MR images were generated on the basis of ultrasound signal and learned correlations alone in a "scannerless" manner. RESULTS: Hybrid ultrasound-MRI data were acquired in eight separate imaging sessions. Locations of liver features, in synthetic images, were compared with those from acquired images: The mean error was 1.0 pixel (2.1 mm), with best case 0.4 and worst case 4.1 pixels (in the presence of heavy coughing). For results from outside the bore, qualitative validation involved optically tracked ultrasound imaging with/without coughing. CONCLUSION: The proposed setup can generate an accurate stream of high-speed MR images, up to 100 frames per second, inside or even outside the MR bore. Magn Reson Med, 2016. © 2016 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

J Duryea, C Cheng, LF Schaefer, S. Smith, and B Madore. 2016. “Integration of Accelerated MRI and Post-Processing Software: A Promising Method for Studies of Knee Osteoarthritis.” Osteoarthritis Cartilage, 24, 11, Pp. 1905-9.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a widely used imaging modality for studies of knee osteoarthritis (OA). Compared to radiography, MRI offers exceptional soft tissue imaging and true three-dimensional (3D) visualization. However, MRI is expensive both due to the cost of acquisition and evaluation of the images. The goal of our study is to develop a new method to address the cost of MRI by combining innovative acquisition methods and automated post-processing software. METHODS: Ten healthy volunteers were scanned with three different MRI protocols: A standard 3D dual-echo steady state (DESS) pulse sequence, an accelerated DESS (DESS), acquired at approximately half the time compared to DESS, and a multi-echo time DESS (DESS), which is capable of producing measurements of T2 relaxation time. A software tool was used to measure cartilage volume. Accuracy was quantified by comparing DESS to DESS and DESS and precision was measured using repeat readings and acquisitions. T2 precision was determined using duplicate DESS acquisitions. Intra-class correlation coefficients (ICCs), root-mean square standard deviation (RMSSD), and the coefficient of variation (CoV) were used to quantify accuracy and precision. RESULTS: The accuracies of DESS and DESS were CoV = 3.7% and CoV = 6.6% respectively, while precision was 3.8%, 3.0%, and 3.1% for DESS, DESS and DESS. T2 repositioning precision was 5.8%. CONCLUSION: The results demonstrate that accurate and precise quantification of cartilage volume is possible using a combination of substantially faster MRI acquisition and post-processing software. Precise measurements of cartilage T2 and volume can be made using the same acquisition.
Jørn Bersvendsen, Matthew Toews, Adriyana Danudibroto, William M Wells, Stig Urheim, Raúl San José Estépar, and Eigil Samset. 2016. “Robust Spatio-Temporal Registration of 4D Cardiac Ultrasound Sequences.” Proc SPIE Int Soc Opt Eng, 9790.Abstract
Registration of multiple 3D ultrasound sectors in order to provide an extended field of view is important for the appreciation of larger anatomical structures at high spatial and temporal resolution. In this paper, we present a method for fully automatic spatio-temporal registration between two partially overlapping 3D ultrasound sequences. The temporal alignment is solved by aligning the normalized cross correlation-over-time curves of the sequences. For the spatial alignment, corresponding 3D Scale Invariant Feature Transform (SIFT) features are extracted from all frames of both sequences independently of the temporal alignment. A rigid transform is then calculated by least squares minimization in combination with random sample consensus. The method is applied to 16 echocardiographic sequences of the left and right ventricles and evaluated against manually annotated temporal events and spatial anatomical landmarks. The mean distances between manually identified landmarks in the left and right ventricles after automatic registration were (mean ± SD) 4.3 ± 1.2 mm compared to a reference error of 2.8 ± 0.6 mm with manual registration. For the temporal alignment, the absolute errors in valvular event times were 14.4 ± 11.6 ms for Aortic Valve (AV) opening, 18.6 ± 16.0 ms for AV closing, and 34.6 ± 26.4 ms for mitral valve opening, compared to a mean inter-frame time of 29 ms.
Chang-Sheng Mei, Renxin Chu, W. Scott Hoge, Lawrence P. Panych, and Bruno Madore. 2015. “Accurate Field Mapping in the Presence of B0 Inhomogeneities, Applied to MR Thermometry.” Magn Reson Med, 73, 6, Pp. 2142-51.Abstract

PURPOSE: To describe how B0 inhomogeneities can cause errors in proton resonance frequency (PRF) shift thermometry, and to correct for these errors. METHODS: With PRF thermometry, measured phase shifts are converted into temperature measurements through the use of a scaling factor proportional to the echo time, TE. However, B0 inhomogeneities can deform, spread, and translate MR echoes, potentially making the "true" echo time vary spatially within the imaged object and take on values that differ from the prescribed TE value. Acquisition and reconstruction methods able to avoid or correct for such errors are presented. RESULTS: Tests were performed in a gel phantom during sonication, and temperature measurements were made with proper shimming as well as with intentionally introduced B0 inhomogeneities. Errors caused by B0 inhomogeneities were observed, described, and corrected by the proposed methods. No statistical difference was found between the corrected results and the reference results obtained with proper shimming, while errors by more than 10% in temperature elevation were corrected for. The approach was also applied to an abdominal in vivo dataset. CONCLUSION: Field variations induce errors in measured field values, which can be detected and corrected. The approach was validated for a PRF thermometry application.

Frank Preiswerk, Matthew Toews, W. Scott Hoge, Jr-yuan George Chiou, Lawrence P. Panych, William M Wells, and Bruno Madore. 2015. “Hybrid Utrasound and MRI Acquisitions for High-Speed Imaging of Respiratory Organ Motion.” Med Image Comput Comput Assist Interv, 9349, Pp. 315-22.Abstract

Magnetic Resonance (MR) imaging provides excellent image quality at a high cost and low frame rate. Ultrasound (US) provides poor image quality at a low cost and high frame rate. We propose an instance-based learning system to obtain the best of both worlds: high quality MR images at high frame rates from a low cost single-element US sensor. Concurrent US and MRI pairs are acquired during a relatively brief offine learning phase involving the US transducer and MR scanner. High frame rate, high quality MR imaging of respiratory organ motion is then predicted from US measurements, even after stopping MRI acquisition, using a probabilistic kernel regression framework. Experimental results show predicted MR images to be highly representative of actual MR images.

C Wachinger, M Toews, G Langs, William M Wells III, and P Golland. 2015. “Keypoint Transfer Segmentation.” Inf Process Med Imaging, 24, Pp. 233-45.Abstract

We present an image segmentation method that transfers label maps of entire organs from the training images to the novel image to be segmented. The transfer is based on sparse correspondences between keypoints that represent automatically identified distinctive image locations. Our segmentation algorithm consists of three steps: (i) keypoint matching, (ii) voting-based keypoint labeling, and (iii) keypoint-based probabilistic transfer of organ label maps. We introduce generative models for the inference of keypoint labels and for image segmentation, where keypoint matches are treated as a latent random variable and are marginalized out as part of the algorithm. We report segmentation results for abdominal organs in whole-body CT and in contrast-enhanced CT images. The accuracy of our method compares favorably to common multi-atlas segmentation while offering a speed-up of about three orders of magnitude. Furthermore, keypoint transfer requires no training phase or registration to an atlas. The algorithm's robustness enables the segmentation of scans with highly variable field-of-view.