Functional Brain Image Analysis Using Joint Function-Structure Priors
We propose a new method for context-driven analysis of functional magnetic resonance images (fMRI) that incorporates spatial relationships between functional parameter clusters and anatomical structure directly for the first time. We design a parametric scheme that relates functional and structural spatially-compact regions in a single unified manner. Our method is motivated by the fact that the fMRI and anatomical MRI (aMRI) have consistent relations that provide configurations and context that aid in fMRI analysis. We develop a statistical decision-making strategy to estimate new fMRI parameter images (based on a General Linear Model-GLM) and spatially-clustered zones within these images. The analysis is based on the time-series data and contextual information related to appropriate spatial grouping of parameters in the functional data and the relationship of this grouping to relevant gray matter structure from the anatomical data. We introduce a representation for the joint prior of the functional and structural information, and define a joint probability distribution over the variations of functional clusters and the related structure contained in a set of training images. We estimate the Maximum A Posteriori (MAP) functional parameters, formulating the function-structure model in terms of level set functions. Results from 3D fMRI and aMRI show that this context-driven analysis potentially extracts more meaningful information than the standard GLM approach.
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