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A review of techniques and applications of lesion identification in MRI scans

A review of techniques and applications of lesion identification in MRI scans

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Published by ozreaper
The results of a semester of directed studies in the area of bio-informatics. I really don't have a background in the subject matter so this was a fair effort.

The paper covers a review of current research literature on the subject of lesion identification in brain MRI scans
The results of a semester of directed studies in the area of bio-informatics. I really don't have a background in the subject matter so this was a fair effort.

The paper covers a review of current research literature on the subject of lesion identification in brain MRI scans

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: ozreaper on Aug 13, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/11/2014

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 A review of techniques and applications of lesion identification in MRI scans
Daryl Sheppard
Abstract 
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is the favoured technique for the identification olesions over other available methods due to its capability to be used in a wide varietyof examinations as well as the fact it is non-
invasive and doesn‟t make use of non
-ionizing radiation (Stamatakis & Tyler, 2005).It does however; present the medical professional with the challenge of providing aconstant and reliable method of identification of lesion areas that is repeatableacross different operators as well as the need in some medical conditions to providefast and accurate diagnosis of the affected areas to determine an appropriate courseof treatment.This paper will review existing research surrounding this problem. It will not focusspecifically on any lesion type or application to any particular disease but will look atthe problem in broad terms. Three main areas will be covered; section 1 will discussmanual segmentation techniques and issues surrounding this approach, section 2 willdiscuss the development of automatic segmentation techniques and section 3 willfocus on new techniques and approaches which show some promising results andmay be the attention of further future research.
 
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1. Introduction
Magnetic Resonance Imaging was firstdiscovered in the 1950s and used initially inthe field of spectroscopy.
It was not until the 1970s when workundertaken by Lauterbur expanded the useof Magnetic Resonance Imaging intomedical applications which then enabledexaminations of the human body in vivo(Liney, 2005).The technique produces the MR imagethrough the detection of the presence ofhydrogens (protons) within the body. TheMRI machine subjects these hydrogens to alarge magnetic field which partiallypolarizestheir nuclear spins. The spins are thenexcited using tuned radio frequencyradiation. Radio frequency radiation is thendetected from them as they relax from this magnetic interaction.The frequency of the signal from the proton is proportional to the magnetic fieldapplied during the radiation process. Using these signals, a map of the body areascanned is then produced which forms the magnetic resonance image. (Nave)While the use of MRI scans has provided good insight into the pathology of thehuman body, for the identification of lesions it presents some areas of concern.Broadly speaking there are two main categories of lesions that are of interest tomedical professionals;
white matter lesions (WML), resulting in blood-brain barrier damage(Calabrese, et al., 2008)
gray matter lesions (GML), resulting in demyelination of nerve fibres(Calabrese, et al., 2008)These lesions point towards a number of different medical conditions and theiridentification is often paramount to determine treatment for the patient as well ascritical in monitoring the effects of drug therapy in clinical trials. (Van Leemput, Maes,Bello, Vandermeulen, Colchester, & Suetens, 2000)
Figure 1 Example of a normal brain MRI image (McGillUniversity, 2006)
 
 
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The process of segmenting the MRIscan of patients with WML is difficultbecause the characteristics of WML aresimilar to those of gray matter.Techniques such as intensity basedstatistical classification potentially mayclassify some WML as gray matter andsome gray matter as WML. (Warfield, etal., 1995)
To further highlight the subtletiesinvolved in the process required tosegment lesions from an MRI scan, takethe images displayed inFigure 1andFigure 2as an example.These are simulated images generatedfrom the online BrainWeb resource(McGill University, 2006). Both imagesshow a T1 MRI scan taken in 5 mm slices(slice 21 displayed).The differences between the two images are very subtle and identifying the lesionwould be a difficult task taking into account the potentially large number of imageswithin a standard MRI scan. Additionally, an operator examining a large number of images in a given work day may eventually start to misidentify some of the lessapparent lesions. Add to this a level of complexity introduced due to varying typeand quality of images under review.Due to the fact that MRI techniques were well established prior to any concept of anautomated method for analysis, the first techniques developed to assess MRI scanswere of course manual. These consisted of trained operators following a predefinedmeasurement scale as will be discussed in more detail later in this paper.With advancements in the areas of computer assisted analysis and its application tothe medical profession, a number of techniques have been developed whichautomate the work of the trained operators. These include two main categories; fullyautomated or hybrid approach which still requires some involvement with a trainedoperatorA large amount of the literature I covered throughout the course of this reviewcovered the application of lesion segmentation in relation to its applicationspecifically to the disease of Multiple Sclerosis. Certainly other lesion-causing
diseases have been covered such as Alzheimer‟s and stroke. It should also be noted
Figure 2 Example of a brain MRI image showing MSlesions. (McGill University, 2006)
 

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