, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 154-166
Date: 25 Jan 2009

Characterization of Atrophic Changes in the Cerebral Cortex Using Fractal Dimensional Analysis

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Abstract

The purpose of this project is to apply a modified fractal analysis technique to high-resolution T1 weighted magnetic resonance images in order to quantify the alterations in the shape of the cerebral cortex that occur in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Images were selected from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative database (Control N = 15, Mild-Moderate AD N = 15). The images were segmented using a semi-automated analysis program. Four coronal and three axial profiles of the cerebral cortical ribbon were created. The fractal dimensions (D f) of the cortical ribbons were then computed using a box-counting algorithm. The mean D f of the cortical ribbons from AD patients were lower than age-matched controls on six of seven profiles. The fractal measure has regional variability which reflects local differences in brain structure. Fractal dimension is complementary to volumetric measures and may assist in identifying disease state or disease progression.

Data used in the preparation of this article were obtained from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) database (www.loni.ucla.edu/ADNI). As such, the investigators within the ADNI contributed to the design and implementation of ADNI and/or provided data but did not participate in the analysis or writing of this report.