DTI methods for MRI brain image analysis

Lesions affecting the visual pathways in the human brain are common and may cause reduced visual acuity or visual field defects, either directly or as a result of surgery. These pathways can be visualised using tractography. The procedure is based on a combination of a magnetic resonance imaging technique known as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and computer-based image analysis.

Within the research centre MedTech West we are developing novel DTI-based software tools for visualising and quantitatively characterising the visual pathways. The aim is to provide a suite of tools for use in neurosurgical planning. 

Our approach involves:
  1. Developing a tractography method that yields the most anatomically accurate demonstration of the visual pathways. This is assessed by comparing the tractography from healthy controls to pathways in a histological atlas that have been transferred to a standard magnetic resonance image of the brain (MNI brain atlas).
  2. Developing/evaluating DTI and tractography features that quantitatively characterise the pathways.
  3. Developing/evaluating classifiers, based on the features in (ii), for detecting early signs of injury to the visual pathways, distinguishing between compression and infiltration of the pathways by a tumour, and predicting visual function.

The resulting DTI tools offer the possibility for improved neurosurgical planning with correspondingly better patient outcomes.

Page manager Published: Mon 28 Oct 2013.