Shape versus size: Improved understanding of the morphology ofbrain structures

Guido Gerig, Martin Styner, Martha E. Shenton, Jeffrey A. Lieberman

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    Standard practice in quantitative structural neuroimaging is a segmentation into brain tissue, subcortical structures, fluid space and lesions followed by volume calculations of gross structures. On the other hand, it is evident that object characterization by size does only capture one of multiple aspects of a full structural characterization. Desirable parameters are local and global parameters like length, elongation, bending, width, complexity, bumpiness and many more. In neuroimaging research there is increasing evidence that shape analysis of brain structures provides new information which is not available by conventional volumetric measurements. This motivates development of novel morphometric analysis techniques answering clinical research questions which have been asked for a long time but which remained unanswered due to the lack of appropriate measurement tools. Challenges are the choice of biologically meaningful shape representations, robustness to noise and small perturbations, and the ability to capture the shape properties of populations that represent natural biological shape variation. This paper describes experiments with two different shape representation schemes, a fine- scale, global surface characterization using spherical harmonics, and a coarsely sampled medial representation (3D skeleton). Driving applications are the detection of group differences of amhygdala-hippocampal shapes in schizophrenia and the analysis of ventricular shape similarity in a mono/dizygotic twin study. The results clearly demonstrate that shape captures information on structural similarity or difference which is not accessible by volume analysis. Improved global and local structure characterization as proposed herein might help to explain pathological changes in neurodevelopment/neurodegeneration in terms of their biological meaning.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationMedical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention - MICCAI 2001 - 4th International Conference, Proceedings
    EditorsWiro J. Niessen, Max A. Viergever
    PublisherSpringer Verlag
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Print)3540426973, 9783540454687
    StatePublished - 2001
    Event4th International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention, MICCAI 2001 - Utrecht, Netherlands
    Duration: Oct 14 2001Oct 17 2001

    Publication series

    NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
    ISSN (Print)0302-9743
    ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


    Other4th International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention, MICCAI 2001

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Theoretical Computer Science
    • General Computer Science


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