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Applied Sciences-Basel

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This study develops an atlas-based automated framework for segmenting infants' brains from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). For the accurate segmentation of different structures of an infant's brain at the isointense age (6-12 months), our framework integrates features of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) (e.g., the fractional anisotropy (FA)). A brain diffusion tensor (DT) image and its region map are considered samples of a Markov-Gibbs random field (MGRF) that jointly models visual appearance, shape, and spatial homogeneity of a goal structure. The visual appearance is modeled with an empirical distribution of the probability of the DTI features, fused by their nonnegative matrix factorization (NMF) and allocation to data clusters. Projecting an initial high-dimensional feature space onto a low-dimensional space of the significant fused features with the NMF allows for better separation of the goal structure and its background. The cluster centers in the latter space are determined at the training stage by the K-means clustering. In order to adapt to large infant brain inhomogeneities and segment the brain images more accurately, appearance descriptors of both the first-order and second-order are taken into account in the fused NMF feature space. Additionally, a second-order MGRF model is used to describe the appearance based on the voxel intensities and their pairwise spatial dependencies. An adaptive shape prior that is spatially variant is constructed from a training set of co-aligned images, forming an atlas database. Moreover, the spatial homogeneity of the shape is described with a spatially uniform 3D MGRF of the second-order for region labels. In vivo experiments on nine infant datasets showed promising results in terms of the accuracy, which was computed using three metrics: the 95-percentile modified Hausdorff distance (MHD), the Dice similarity coefficient (DSC), and the absolute volume difference (AVD). Both the quantitative and visual assessments confirm that integrating the proposed NMF-fused DTI feature and intensity MGRF models of visual appearance, the adaptive shape prior, and the shape homogeneity MGRF model is promising in segmenting the infant brain DTI.










Computer Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


infant brain, DTI, segmentation, atlas, NMF, MGRF

Scopus ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Open Access


Open Access Type

Gold: This publication is openly available in an open access journal/series