Improved volumetric measurement of brain structure with a distortion correction procedure using an ADNI phantom.

Medical Physics

PubMedID: 23718605

Maikusa N, Yamashita F, Tanaka K, Abe O, Kawaguchi A, Kabasawa H, Chiba S, Kasahara A, Kobayashi N, Yuasa T, Sato N, Matsuda H, Iwatsubo T, Japanese Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Improved volumetric measurement of brain structure with a distortion correction procedure using an ADNI phantom. Med Phys. 2013;40(6):062303.
PURPOSE
Serial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images acquired from multisite and multivendor MRI scanners are widely used in measuring longitudinal structural changes in the brain. Precise and accurate measurements are important in understanding the natural progression of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. However, geometric distortions in MRI images decrease the accuracy and precision of volumetric or morphometric measurements. To solve this problem, the authors suggest a commercially available phantom-based distortion correction method that accommodates the variation in geometric distortion within MRI images obtained with multivendor MRI scanners.

METHODS
The authors' method is based on image warping using a polynomial function. The method detects fiducial points within a phantom image using phantom analysis software developed by the Mayo Clinic and calculates warping functions for distortion correction. To quantify the effectiveness of the authors' method, the authors corrected phantom images obtained from multivendor MRI scanners and calculated the root-mean-square (RMS) of fiducial errors and the circularity ratio as evaluation values. The authors also compared the performance of the authors' method with that of a distortion correction method based on a spherical harmonics description of the generic gradient design parameters. Moreover, the authors evaluated whether this correction improves the test-retest reproducibility of voxel-based morphometry in human studies.

RESULTS
A Wilcoxon signed-rank test with uncorrected and corrected images was performed. The root-mean-square errors and circularity ratios for all slices significantly improved (p < 0.0001) after the authors' distortion correction. Additionally, the authors' method was significantly better than a distortion correction method based on a description of spherical harmonics in improving the distortion of root-mean-square errors (p < 0.001 and 0.0337, respectively). Moreover, the authors' method reduced the RMS error arising from gradient nonlinearity more than gradwarp methods. In human studies, the coefficient of variation of voxel-based morphometry analysis of the whole brain improved significantly from 3.46% to 2.70% after distortion correction of the whole gray matter using the authors' method (Wilcoxon signed-rank test, p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS
The authors proposed a phantom-based distortion correction method to improve reproducibility in longitudinal structural brain analysis using multivendor MRI. The authors evaluated the authors' method for phantom images in terms of two geometrical values and for human images in terms of test-retest reproducibility. The results showed that distortion was corrected significantly using the authors' method. In human studies, the reproducibility of voxel-based morphometry analysis for the whole gray matter significantly improved after distortion correction using the authors' method.