Learning a Single Step of Streamline Tractography Based on Neural Networks

  • Daniel Jörgens
  • Örjan Smedby
  • Rodrigo Moreno
Conference paper
Part of the Mathematics and Visualization book series (MATHVISUAL)


This paper focuses on predicting a single step of streamline tractography from diffusion magnetic resonance imaging data by using different predictors based on neural networks. We train 18 different classifiers in order to assess the effect of including neighbourhood information in the learning step or as a post processing step. Moreover, the performance using four different post processing approaches as well as the variation of the number of classes resulting in a total of 60 experimental configurations are assessed. Further, a comparison to 12 regression-based networks is performed and the effect of including several streamline steps in the network input is investigated. All networks are trained and tested on the ISMRM 2015 tractography challenge data. Our results do not indicate a clear improvement when using neighbouring data (regardless if it used as an input or as a post processing). Also, the linear interpolation of the diffusion data does not outperform the less expensive nearest neighbour approach. As opposed to that, using a linear model on top of the output of the classifiers is beneficial and—in combination with at least 200 classes—resulted in a similar performance as the regression approach. Finally, providing the networks with additional curvature information led to a clear improvement of prediction performance. Our analysis of accuracy based on average angular errors suggests that also considering spatial location in the learning step might further improve machine learning-based streamline tractography algorithms.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Jörgens
    • 1
  • Örjan Smedby
    • 1
  • Rodrigo Moreno
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical Engineering and Health SystemsKTH Royal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden

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