Many functional and structural neuroimaging studies call for accurate morphometric segmentation of different brain structures starting from image intensity values of MRI scans. Current automatic (multi-) atlas-based segmentation strategies often lack accuracy on difficult-to-segment brain structures and, since these methods rely on atlas-to-scan alignment, they may take long processing times. Alternatively, recent methods deploying solutions based on Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) are enabling the direct analysis of out-of-the-scanner data. However, current CNN-based solutions partition the test volume into 2D or 3D patches, which are processed independently. This process entails a loss of global contextual information, thereby negatively impacting the segmentation accuracy. In this work, we design and test an optimised end-to-end CNN architecture that makes the exploitation of global spatial information computationally tractable, allowing to process a whole MRI volume at once. We adopt a weakly supervised learning strategy by exploiting a large dataset composed of 947 out-of-the-scanner (3 Tesla T1-weighted 1mm isotropic MP-RAGE 3D sequences) MR Images. The resulting model is able to produce accurate multi-structure segmentation results in only a few seconds. Different quantitative measures demonstrate an improved accuracy of our solution when compared to state-of-the-art techniques. Moreover, through a randomised survey involving expert neuroscientists, we show that subjective judgements favour our solution with respect to widely adopted atlas-based software.

CEREBRUM: a fast and fully-volumetric Convolutional Encoder-decodeR for weakly-supervised sEgmentation of BRain strUctures from out-of-the-scanner MRI

Bontempi, Dennis;Benini, Sergio;Signoroni, Alberto;Svanera, Michele
;
2020-01-01

Abstract

Many functional and structural neuroimaging studies call for accurate morphometric segmentation of different brain structures starting from image intensity values of MRI scans. Current automatic (multi-) atlas-based segmentation strategies often lack accuracy on difficult-to-segment brain structures and, since these methods rely on atlas-to-scan alignment, they may take long processing times. Alternatively, recent methods deploying solutions based on Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) are enabling the direct analysis of out-of-the-scanner data. However, current CNN-based solutions partition the test volume into 2D or 3D patches, which are processed independently. This process entails a loss of global contextual information, thereby negatively impacting the segmentation accuracy. In this work, we design and test an optimised end-to-end CNN architecture that makes the exploitation of global spatial information computationally tractable, allowing to process a whole MRI volume at once. We adopt a weakly supervised learning strategy by exploiting a large dataset composed of 947 out-of-the-scanner (3 Tesla T1-weighted 1mm isotropic MP-RAGE 3D sequences) MR Images. The resulting model is able to produce accurate multi-structure segmentation results in only a few seconds. Different quantitative measures demonstrate an improved accuracy of our solution when compared to state-of-the-art techniques. Moreover, through a randomised survey involving expert neuroscientists, we show that subjective judgements favour our solution with respect to widely adopted atlas-based software.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11379/528658
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