The NIH/NIGMS
Center for Integrative Biomedical Computing

SCI Publications

2022


E.E. Anstadt, W. Tao, E. Guo, L. Dvoracek, M.K. Bruce, P.J. Grosse, L. Wang, L. Kavan, R. Whitaker, J.A. Goldstein. “Quantifying the Severity of Metopic Craniosynostosis Using Unsupervised Machine Learning,” In Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, November, 2022.

ABSTRACT

Background: 

Quantifying the severity of head shape deformity and establishing a threshold for operative intervention remains challenging in patients with Metopic Craniosynostosis (MCS). This study combines 3D skull shape analysis with an unsupervised machine-learning algorithm to generate a quantitative shape severity score (CMD) and provide an operative threshold score.

Methods: 

Head computed tomography (CT) scans from subjects with MCS and normal controls (age 5-15 months) were used for objective 3D shape analysis using ShapeWorks software and in a survey for craniofacial surgeons to rate head-shape deformity and report whether they would offer surgical correction based on head shape alone. An unsupervised machine-learning algorithm was developed to quantify the degree of shape abnormality of MCS skulls compared to controls.

Results: 

124 CTs were used to develop the model; 50 (24% MCS, 76% controls) were rated by 36 craniofacial surgeons, with an average of 20.8 ratings per skull. The interrater reliability was high (ICC=0.988). The algorithm performed accurately and correlates closely with the surgeons assigned severity ratings (Spearman’s Correlation coefficient r=0.817). The median CMD for affected skulls was 155.0 (IQR 136.4-194.6, maximum 231.3). Skulls with ratings ≥150.2 were highly likely to be offered surgery by the experts in this study.

Conclusions: 

This study describes a novel metric to quantify the head shape deformity associated with metopic craniosynostosis and contextualizes the results using clinical assessments of head shapes by craniofacial experts. This metric may be useful in supporting clinical decision making around operative intervention as well as in describing outcomes and comparing patient population across centers.



T. M. Athawale, D. Maljovec. L. Yan, C. R. Johnson, V. Pascucci, B. Wang. “Uncertainty Visualization of 2D Morse Complex Ensembles Using Statistical Summary Maps,” In IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, Vol. 28, No. 4, pp. 1955-1966. April, 2022.
ISSN: 1077-2626
DOI: 10.1109/TVCG.2020.3022359

ABSTRACT

Morse complexes are gradient-based topological descriptors with close connections to Morse theory. They are widely applicable in scientific visualization as they serve as important abstractions for gaining insights into the topology of scalar fields. Data uncertainty inherent to scalar fields due to randomness in their acquisition and processing, however, limits our understanding of Morse complexes as structural abstractions. We, therefore, explore uncertainty visualization of an ensemble of 2D Morse complexes that arises from scalar fields coupled with data uncertainty. We propose several statistical summary maps as new entities for quantifying structural variations and visualizing positional uncertainties of Morse complexes in ensembles. Specifically, we introduce three types of statistical summary maps – the probabilistic map , the significance map , and the survival map – to characterize the uncertain behaviors of gradient flows. We demonstrate the utility of our proposed approach using wind, flow, and ocean eddy simulation datasets.



W. Bangerth, C. R. Johnson, D. K. Njeru, B. van Bloemen Waanders. “Estimating and using information in inverse problems,” Subtitled “arXiv:2208.09095,” 2022.

ABSTRACT

For inverse problems one attempts to infer spatially variable functions from indirect measurements of a system. To practitioners of inverse problems, the concept of ``information'' is familiar when discussing key questions such as which parts of the function can be inferred accurately and which cannot. For example, it is generally understood that we can identify system parameters accurately only close to detectors, or along ray paths between sources and detectors, because we have ``the most information'' for these places.

Although referenced in many publications, the ``information'' that is invoked in such contexts is not a well understood and clearly defined quantity. Herein, we present a definition of information density that is based on the variance of coefficients as derived from a Bayesian reformulation of the inverse problem. We then discuss three areas in which this information density can be useful in practical algorithms for the solution of inverse problems, and illustrate the usefulness in one of these areas -- how to choose the discretization mesh for the function to be reconstructed -- using numerical experiments.



J. A. Bergquist, J. Coll-Font, B. Zenger, L. C. Rupp, W. W. Good, D. H. Brooks, R. S. MacLeod. “Reconstruction of cardiac position using body surface potentials,” In Computers in Biology and Medicine, Vol. 142, pp. 105174. 2022.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compbiomed.2021.105174

ABSTRACT

Electrocardiographic imaging (ECGI) is a noninvasive technique to assess the bioelectric activity of the heart which has been applied to aid in clinical diagnosis and management of cardiac dysfunction. ECGI is built on mathematical models that take into account several patient specific factors including the position of the heart within the torso. Errors in the localization of the heart within the torso, as might arise due to natural changes in heart position from respiration or changes in body position, contribute to errors in ECGI reconstructions of the cardiac activity, thereby reducing the clinical utility of ECGI. In this study we present a novel method for the reconstruction of cardiac geometry utilizing noninvasively acquired body surface potential measurements. Our geometric correction method simultaneously estimates the cardiac position over a series of heartbeats by leveraging an iterative approach which alternates between estimating the cardiac bioelectric source across all heartbeats and then estimating cardiac positions for each heartbeat. We demonstrate that our geometric correction method is able to reduce geometric error and improve ECGI accuracy in a wide range of testing scenarios. We examine the performance of our geometric correction method using different activation sequences, ranges of cardiac motion, and body surface electrode configurations. We find that after geometric correction resulting ECGI solution accuracy is improved and variability of the ECGI solutions between heartbeats is substantially reduced.



M. Han, S. Sane, C. R. Johnson. “Exploratory Lagrangian-Based Particle Tracing Using Deep Learning,” In Journal of Flow Visualization and Image Processing, Begell, 2022.
DOI: 10.1615/JFlowVisImageProc.2022041197

ABSTRACT

Time-varying vector fields produced by computational fluid dynamics simulations are often prohibitively large and pose challenges for accurate interactive analysis and exploration. To address these challenges, reduced Lagrangian representations have been increasingly researched as a means to improve scientific time-varying vector field exploration capabilities. This paper presents a novel deep neural network-based particle tracing method to explore time-varying vector fields represented by Lagrangian flow maps. In our workflow, in situ processing is first utilized to extract Lagrangian flow maps, and deep neural networks then use the extracted data to learn flow field behavior. Using a trained model to predict new particle trajectories offers a fixed small memory footprint and fast inference. To demonstrate and evaluate the proposed method, we perform an in-depth study of performance using a well-known analytical data set, the Double Gyre. Our study considers two flow map extraction strategies, the impact of the number of training samples and integration durations on efficacy, evaluates multiple sampling options for training and testing, and informs hyperparameter settings. Overall, we find our method requires a fixed memory footprint of 10.5 MB to encode a Lagrangian representation of a time-varying vector field while maintaining accuracy. For post hoc analysis, loading the trained model costs only two seconds, significantly reducing the burden of I/O when reading data for visualization. Moreover, our parallel implementation can infer one hundred locations for each of two thousand new pathlines in 1.3 seconds using one NVIDIA Titan RTX GPU.



Y. Ishidoya, E. Kwan, D. J. Dosdall, R. S. Macleod, L. Navaravong, B. A. Steinberg, T. J. Bunch, R. Ranjan. “Shorter Distance Between The Esophagus And The Left Atrium Is Associated With Higher Rates Of Esophageal Thermal Injury After Radiofrequency Ablation,” In Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology, Wiley, 2022.
DOI: 10.1111/jce.15554

ABSTRACT

Background
Esophageal thermal injury (ETI) is a known and potentially serious complication of catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation. We intended to evaluate the distance between the esophagus and the left atrium posterior wall (LAPW) and its association with esophageal thermal injury.

Methods
A retrospective analysis of 73 patients who underwent esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) after LA radiofrequency catheter ablation for symptomatic atrial fibrillation and pre-ablation magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to identify the minimum distance between the inner lumen of the esophagus and the ablated atrial endocardium (pre-ablation atrial esophageal distance; pre-AED) and occurrence of ETI. Parameters of ablation index (AI, Visitag Surpoint) were collected in 30 patients from the CARTO3 system and compared to assess if ablation strategies and AI further impacted risk of ETI.
Results
Pre-AED was significantly larger in patients without ETI than those with ETI (5.23 ± 0.96 mm vs 4.31 ± 0.75 mm, p < 0.001). Pre-AED showed high accuracy for predicting ETI with the best cutoff value of 4.37 mm. AI was statistically comparable between Visitag lesion markers with and without associated esophageal late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) detected by post-ablation MRI in the low-power long-duration ablation group (LPLD, 25-40W for 10 to 30 s, 393.16 [308.62, 408.86] versus 406.58 [364.38, 451.22], p = 0.16) and high-power short-duration group (HPSD, 50W for 5-10 s, 336.14 [299.66, 380.11] versus 330.54 [286.21, 384.71], p = 0.53), respectively.
Conclusion
Measuring the distance between the LA and the esophagus in pre-ablation LGE-MRI could be helpful in predicting ETI after LAPW ablation.



X. Jiang, Z. Li, R. Missel, Md. Zaman, B. Zenger, W. W. Good, R. S. MacLeod, J. L. Sapp, L. Wang. “Few-Shot Generation of Personalized Neural Surrogates for Cardiac Simulation via Bayesian Meta-learning,” In Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention -- MICCAI 2022, Springer Nature Switzerland, pp. 46--56. 2022.
ISBN: 978-3-031-16452-1
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-031-16452-1_5

ABSTRACT

Clinical adoption of personalized virtual heart simulations faces challenges in model personalization and expensive computation. While an ideal solution is an efficient neural surrogate that at the same time is personalized to an individual subject, the state-of-the-art is either concerned with personalizing an expensive simulation model, or learning an efficient yet generic surrogate. This paper presents a completely new concept to achieve personalized neural surrogates in a single coherent framework of meta-learning (metaPNS). Instead of learning a single neural surrogate, we pursue the process of learning a personalized neural surrogate using a small amount of context data from a subject, in a novel formulation of few-shot generative modeling underpinned by: 1) a set-conditioned neural surrogate for cardiac simulation that, conditioned on subject-specific context data, learns to generate query simulations not included in the context set, and 2) a meta-model of amortized variational inference that learns to condition the neural surrogate via simple feed-forward embedding of context data. As test time, metaPNS delivers a personalized neural surrogate by fast feed-forward embedding of a small and flexible number of data available from an individual, achieving -- for the first time -- personalization and surrogate construction for expensive simulations in one end-to-end learning framework. Synthetic and real-data experiments demonstrated that metaPNS was able to improve personalization and predictive accuracy in comparison to conventionally-optimized cardiac simulation models, at a fraction of computation.



X. Jiang, M. Toloubidokhti, J. Bergquist, B. Zenger, w. Good, R.S. MacLeod, L. Wang. “Improving Generalization by Learning Geometry-Dependent and Physics-Based Reconstruction of Image Sequences,” In IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging, 2022.
DOI: 10.1109/TMI.2022.3218170

ABSTRACT

Deep neural networks have shown promise in image reconstruction tasks, although often on the premise of large amounts of training data. In this paper, we present a new approach to exploit the geometry and physics underlying electrocardiographic imaging (ECGI) to learn efficiently with a relatively small dataset. We first introduce a non-Euclidean encoding-decoding network that allows us to describe the unknown and measurement variables over their respective geometrical domains. We then explicitly model the geometry-dependent physics in between the two domains via a bipartite graph over their graphical embeddings. We applied the resulting network to reconstruct electrical activity on the heart surface from body-surface potentials. In a series of generalization tasks with increasing difficulty, we demonstrated the improved ability of the network to generalize across geometrical changes underlying the data using less than 10% of training data and fewer variations of training geometry in comparison to its Euclidean alternatives. In both simulation and real-data experiments, we further demonstrated its ability to be quickly fine-tuned to new geometry using a modest amount of data.



D. K. Njeru, T. M. Athawale, J. J. France, C. R. Johnson. “Quantifying and Visualizing Uncertainty for Source Localisation in Electrocardiographic Imaging,” In Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering: Imaging & Visualization, Taylor & Francis, pp. 1--11. 2022.
DOI: 10.1080/21681163.2022.2113824

ABSTRACT

Electrocardiographic imaging (ECGI) presents a clinical opportunity to noninvasively understand the sources of arrhythmias for individual patients. To help increase the effectiveness of ECGI, we provide new ways to visualise associated measurement and modelling errors. In this paper, we study source localisation uncertainty in two steps: First, we perform Monte Carlo simulations of a simple inverse ECGI source localisation model with error sampling to understand the variations in ECGI solutions. Second, we present multiple visualisation techniques, including confidence maps, level-sets, and topology-based visualisations, to better understand uncertainty in source localization. Our approach offers a new way to study uncertainty in the ECGI pipeline.



S. Sane, C. R. Johnson, H. Childs. “Demonstrating the viability of Lagrangian in situ reduction on supercomputers,” In Journal of Computational Science, Vol. 61, Elsevier, 2022.

ABSTRACT

Performing exploratory analysis and visualization of large-scale time-varying computational science applications is challenging due to inaccuracies that arise from under-resolved data. In recent years, Lagrangian representations of the vector field computed using in situ processing are being increasingly researched and have emerged as a potential solution to enable exploration. However, prior works have offered limited estimates of the encumbrance on the simulation code as they consider “theoretical” in situ environments. Further, the effectiveness of this approach varies based on the nature of the vector field, benefitting from an in-depth investigation for each application area. With this study, an extended version of Sane et al. (2021), we contribute an evaluation of Lagrangian analysis viability and efficacy for simulation codes executing at scale on a supercomputer. We investigated previously unexplored cosmology and seismology applications as well as conducted a performance benchmarking study by using a hydrodynamics mini-application targeting exascale computing. To inform encumbrance, we integrated in situ infrastructure with simulation codes, and evaluated Lagrangian in situ reduction in representative homogeneous and heterogeneous HPC environments. To inform post hoc accuracy, we conducted a statistical analysis across a range of spatiotemporal configurations as well as a qualitative evaluation. Additionally, our study contributes cost estimates for distributed-memory post hoc reconstruction. In all, we demonstrate viability for each application — data reduction to less than 1% of the total data via Lagrangian representations, while maintaining accurate reconstruction and requiring under 10% of total execution time in over 90% of our experiments.



M. Toloubidokhti, N. Kumar, Z. Li, P. K. Gyawali, B. Zenger, W. W. Good, R. S. MacLeod, L. Wang . “Interpretable Modeling and Reduction of Unknown Errors in Mechanistic Operators,” In Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention -- MICCAI 2022, Springer Nature Switzerland, pp. 459--468. 2022.
ISBN: 978-3-031-16452-1
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-031-16452-1_44

ABSTRACT

Prior knowledge about the imaging physics provides a mechanistic forward operator that plays an important role in image reconstruction, although myriad sources of possible errors in the operator could negatively impact the reconstruction solutions. In this work, we propose to embed the traditional mechanistic forward operator inside a neural function, and focus on modeling and correcting its unknown errors in an interpretable manner. This is achieved by a conditional generative model that transforms a given mechanistic operator with unknown errors, arising from a latent space of self-organizing clusters of potential sources of error generation. Once learned, the generative model can be used in place of a fixed forward operator in any traditional optimization-based reconstruction process where, together with the inverse solution, the error in prior mechanistic forward operator can be minimized and the potential source of error uncovered. We apply the presented method to the reconstruction of heart electrical potential from body surface potential. In controlled simulation experiments and in-vivo real data experiments, we demonstrate that the presented method allowed reduction of errors in the physics-based forward operator and thereby delivered inverse reconstruction of heart-surface potential with increased accuracy.



L. Zhou, M. Fan, C. Hansen, C. R. Johnson, D. Weiskopf. “A Review of Three-Dimensional Medical Image Visualization,” In Health Data Science, Vol. 2022, 2022.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.34133/2022/9840519

ABSTRACT

Importance. Medical images are essential for modern medicine and an important research subject in visualization. However, medical experts are often not aware of the many advanced three-dimensional (3D) medical image visualization techniques that could increase their capabilities in data analysis and assist the decision-making process for specific medical problems. Our paper provides a review of 3D visualization techniques for medical images, intending to bridge the gap between medical experts and visualization researchers. Highlights. Fundamental visualization techniques are revisited for various medical imaging modalities, from computational tomography to diffusion tensor imaging, featuring techniques that enhance spatial perception, which is critical for medical practices. The state-of-the-art of medical visualization is reviewed based on a procedure-oriented classification of medical problems for studies of individuals and populations. This paper summarizes free software tools for different modalities of medical images designed for various purposes, including visualization, analysis, and segmentation, and it provides respective Internet links. Conclusions. Visualization techniques are a useful tool for medical experts to tackle specific medical problems in their daily work. Our review provides a quick reference to such techniques given the medical problem and modalities of associated medical images. We summarize fundamental techniques and readily available visualization tools to help medical experts to better understand and utilize medical imaging data. This paper could contribute to the joint effort of the medical and visualization communities to advance precision medicine.


2021


P. Agrawal, R. T. Whitaker, S. Y. Elhabian. “Learning Deep Features for Shape Correspondence with Domain Invariance,” Subtitled “arXiv preprint arXiv:2102.10493,” 2021.

ABSTRACT

Correspondence-based shape models are key to various medical imaging applications that rely on a statistical analysis of anatomies. Such shape models are expected to represent consistent anatomical features across the population for population-specific shape statistics. Early approaches for correspondence placement rely on nearest neighbor search for simpler anatomies. Coordinate transformations for shape correspondence hold promise to address the increasing anatomical complexities. Nonetheless, due to the inherent shape-level geometric complexity and population-level shape variation, the coordinate-wise correspondence often does not translate to the anatomical correspondence. An alternative, group-wise approach for correspondence placement explicitly models the trade-off between geometric description and the population's statistical compactness. However, these models achieve limited success in resolving nonlinear shape correspondence. Recent works have addressed this limitation by adopting an application-specific notion of correspondence through lifting positional data to a higher dimensional feature space. However, they heavily rely on manual expertise to create domain-specific features and consistent landmarks. This paper proposes an automated feature learning approach, using deep convolutional neural networks to extract correspondence-friendly features from shape ensembles. Further, an unsupervised domain adaptation scheme is introduced to augment the pretrained geometric features with new anatomies. Results on anatomical datasets of human scapula, femur, and pelvis bones demonstrate that …



T. M. Athawale, B. Ma, E. Sakhaee, C. R. Johnson,, A. Entezari. “Direct Volume Rendering with Nonparametric Models of Uncertainty,” In IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 1797-1807. 2021.
DOI: 10.1109/TVCG.2020.3030394

ABSTRACT

We present a nonparametric statistical framework for the quantification, analysis, and propagation of data uncertainty in direct volume rendering (DVR). The state-of-the-art statistical DVR framework allows for preserving the transfer function (TF) of the ground truth function when visualizing uncertain data; however, the existing framework is restricted to parametric models of uncertainty. In this paper, we address the limitations of the existing DVR framework by extending the DVR framework for nonparametric distributions. We exploit the quantile interpolation technique to derive probability distributions representing uncertainty in viewing-ray sample intensities in closed form, which allows for accurate and efficient computation. We evaluate our proposed nonparametric statistical models through qualitative and quantitative comparisons with the mean-field and parametric statistical models, such as uniform and Gaussian, as well as Gaussian mixtures. In addition, we present an extension of the state-of-the-art rendering parametric framework to 2D TFs for improved DVR classifications. We show the applicability of our uncertainty quantification framework to ensemble, downsampled, and bivariate versions of scalar field datasets.



P. R. Atkins, P. Agrawal, J. D. Mozingo, K. Uemura, K. Tokunaga, C. L. Peters, S. Y. Elhabian, R. T. Whitaker, A. E. Anderson. “Prediction of Femoral Head Coverage from Articulated Statistical Shape Models of Patients with Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip,” In Journal of Orthopaedic Research, Wiley, 2021.
DOI: 10.1002/jor.25227

ABSTRACT

Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is commonly described as reduced femoral head coverage due to anterolateral acetabular deficiency. Although reduced coverage is the defining trait of DDH, more subtle and localized anatomic features of the joint are also thought to contribute to symptom development and degeneration. These features are challenging to identify using conventional approaches. Herein, we assessed the morphology of the full femur and hemi-pelvis using an articulated statistical shape model (SSM). The model determined the morphological and pose-based variations associated with DDH in a population of Japanese females and established which of these variations predict coverage. Computed tomography images of 83 hips from 47 patients were segmented for input into a correspondence-based SSM. The dominant modes of variation in the model initially represented scale and pose. After removal of these factors through individual bone alignment, femoral version and neck-shaft angle, pelvic curvature, and acetabular version dominated the observed variation. Femoral head oblateness and prominence of the acetabular rim and various muscle attachment sites of the femur and hemi-pelvis were found to predict 3D CT-based coverage measurements (R2=0.5-0.7 for the full bones, R2=0.9 for the joint).



J. A. Bergquist, W. W. Good, B. Zenger, J. D. Tate, L. C. Rupp, R. S. MacLeod. “The Electrocardiographic Forward Problem: A Benchmark Study,” In Computers in Biology and Medicine, Vol. 134, Pergamon, pp. 104476. 2021.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compbiomed.2021.104476

ABSTRACT

Background
Electrocardiographic forward problems are crucial components for noninvasive electrocardiographic imaging (ECGI) that compute torso potentials from cardiac source measurements. Forward problems have few sources of error as they are physically well posed and supported by mature numerical and computational techniques. However, the residual errors reported from experimental validation studies between forward computed and measured torso signals remain surprisingly high.

Objective
To test the hypothesis that incomplete cardiac source sampling, especially above the atrioventricular (AV) plane is a major contributor to forward solution errors.

Methods
We used a modified Langendorff preparation suspended in a human-shaped electrolytic torso-tank and a novel pericardiac-cage recording array to thoroughly sample the cardiac potentials. With this carefully controlled experimental preparation, we minimized possible sources of error, including geometric error and torso inhomogeneities. We progressively removed recorded signals from above the atrioventricular plane to determine how the forward-computed torso-tank potentials were affected by incomplete source sampling.

Results
We studied 240 beats total recorded from three different activation sequence types (sinus, and posterior and anterior left-ventricular free-wall pacing) in each of two experiments. With complete sampling by the cage electrodes, all correlation metrics between computed and measured torso-tank potentials were above 0.93 (maximum 0.99). The mean root-mean-squared error across all beat types was also low, less than or equal to 0.10 mV. A precipitous drop in forward solution accuracy was observed when we included only cage measurements below the AV plane.

Conclusion
First, our forward computed potentials using complete cardiac source measurements set a benchmark for similar studies. Second, this study validates the importance of complete cardiac source sampling above the AV plane to produce accurate forward computed torso potentials. Testing ECGI systems and techniques with these more complete and highly accurate datasets will improve inverse techniques and noninvasive detection of cardiac electrical abnormalities.



R. Bhalodia, S. Elhabian, L. Kavan, R. Whitaker. “Leveraging Unsupervised Image Registration for Discovery of Landmark Shape Descriptor,” In Medical Image Analysis, Elsevier, pp. 102157. 2021.

ABSTRACT

In current biological and medical research, statistical shape modeling (SSM) provides an essential framework for the characterization of anatomy/morphology. Such analysis is often driven by the identification of a relatively small number of geometrically consistent features found across the samples of a population. These features can subsequently provide information about the population shape variation. Dense correspondence models can provide ease of computation and yield an interpretable low-dimensional shape descriptor when followed by dimensionality reduction. However, automatic methods for obtaining such correspondences usually require image segmentation followed by significant preprocessing, which is taxing in terms of both computation as well as human resources. In many cases, the segmentation and subsequent processing require manual guidance and anatomy specific domain expertise. This paper proposes a self-supervised deep learning approach for discovering landmarks from images that can directly be used as a shape descriptor for subsequent analysis. We use landmark-driven image registration as the primary task to force the neural network to discover landmarks that register the images well. We also propose a regularization term that allows for robust optimization of the neural network and ensures that the landmarks uniformly span the image domain. The proposed method circumvents segmentation and preprocessing and directly produces a usable shape descriptor using just 2D or 3D images. In addition, we also propose two variants on the training loss function that allows for prior shape information to be integrated into the model. We apply this framework on several 2D and 3D datasets to obtain their shape descriptors. We analyze these shape descriptors in their efficacy of capturing shape information by performing different shape-driven applications depending on the data ranging from shape clustering to severity prediction to outcome diagnosis.



R. Bhalodia, S. Elhabian, J. Adams, W. Tao, L. Kavan, R. Whitaker. “DeepSSM: A Blueprint for Image-to-Shape Deep Learning Models,” Subtitled “arXiv preprint arXiv:2110.07152,” 2021.

ABSTRACT

Statistical shape modeling (SSM) characterizes anatomical variations in a population of shapes generated from medical images. SSM requires consistent shape representation across samples in shape cohort. Establishing this representation entails a processing pipeline that includes anatomy segmentation, re-sampling, registration, and non-linear optimization. These shape representations are then used to extract low-dimensional shape descriptors that facilitate subsequent analyses in different applications. However, the current process of obtaining these shape descriptors from imaging data relies on human and computational resources, requiring domain expertise for segmenting anatomies of interest. Moreover, this same taxing pipeline needs to be repeated to infer shape descriptors for new image data using a pre-trained/existing shape model. Here, we propose DeepSSM, a deep learning-based framework for learning the functional mapping from images to low-dimensional shape descriptors and their associated shape representations, thereby inferring statistical representation of anatomy directly from 3D images. Once trained using an existing shape model, DeepSSM circumvents the heavy and manual pre-processing and segmentation and significantly improves the computational time, making it a viable solution for fully end-to-end SSM applications. In addition, we introduce a model-based data-augmentation strategy to address data scarcity. Finally, this paper presents and analyzes two different architectural variants of DeepSSM with different loss functions using three medical datasets and their downstream clinical application. Experiments showcase that DeepSSM performs comparably or better to the state-of-the-art SSM both quantitatively and on application-driven downstream tasks. Therefore, DeepSSM aims to provide a comprehensive blueprint for deep learning-based image-to-shape models.



S. R. Black, A. Janson, M. Mahan, J. Anderson, C. R. Butson. “Identification of Deep Brain Stimulation Targets for Neuropathic Pain After Spinal Cord Injury Using Localized Increases in White Matter Fiber Cross‐Section,” In Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2021.

ABSTRACT

Objectives
The spinal cord injury (SCI) patient population is overwhelmingly affected by neuropathic pain (NP), a secondary condition for which therapeutic options are limited and have a low degree of efficacy. The objective of this study was to identify novel deep brain stimulation (DBS) targets that may theoretically benefit those with NP in the SCI patient population. We hypothesize that localized changes in white matter identified in SCI subjects with NP compared to those without NP could be used to develop an evidence‐based approach to DBS target identification.

Materials and Methods
To classify localized neurostructural changes associated with NP in the SCI population, we compared white matter fiber density (FD) and cross‐section (FC) between SCI subjects with NP (N = 17) and SCI subjects without NP (N = 15) using diffusion‐weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We then identified theoretical target locations for DBS using fiber bundles connected to significantly altered regions of white matter. Finally, we used computational models of DBS to determine if our theoretical target locations could be used to feasibly activate our fiber bundles of interest.
Results
We identified significant increases in FC in the splenium of the corpus callosum in pain subjects when compared to controls. We then isolated five fiber bundles that were directly connected to the affected region of white matter. Our models were able to predict that our fiber bundles of interest can be feasibly activated with DBS at reasonable stimulation amplitudes and with clinically relevant implantation approaches.
Conclusions
Altogether, we identified neuroarchitectural changes associated with NP in the SCI cohort and implemented a novel, evidence‐driven target selection approach for DBS to guide future research in neuromodulation treatment of NP after SCI.



W. W. Good, B. Zenger, J. A. Bergquist, L. C. Rupp, K. K. Gillette, M. A.F. Gsell, G. Plank, R. S. MacLeod. “Quantifying the spatiotemporal influence of acute myocardial ischemia on volumetric conduction velocity,” In Journal of Electrocardiology, Vol. 66, Churchill Livingstone, pp. 86-94. 2021.

ABSTRACT

Introduction
Acute myocardial ischemia occurs when coronary perfusion to the heart is inadequate, which can perturb the highly organized electrical activation of the heart and can result in adverse cardiac events including sudden cardiac death. Ischemia is known to influence the ST and repolarization phases of the ECG, but it also has a marked effect on propagation (QRS); however, studies investigating propagation during ischemia have been limited.

Methods
We estimated conduction velocity (CV) and ischemic stress prior to and throughout 20 episodes of experimentally induced ischemia in order to quantify the progression and correlation of volumetric conduction changes during ischemia. To estimate volumetric CV, we 1) reconstructed the activation wavefront; 2) calculated the elementwise gradient to approximate propagation direction; and 3) estimated conduction speed (CS) with an inverse-gradient technique.
Results
We found that acute ischemia induces significant conduction slowing, reducing the global median speed by 20 cm/s. We observed a biphasic response in CS (acceleration then deceleration) early in some ischemic episodes. Furthermore, we noted a high temporal correlation between ST-segment changes and CS slowing; however, when comparing these changes over space, we found only moderate correlation (corr. = 0.60).
Discussion
This study is the first to report volumetric CS changes (acceleration and slowing) during episodes of acute ischemia in the whole heart. We showed that while CS changes progress in a similar time course to ischemic stress (measured by ST-segment shifts), the spatial overlap is complex and variable, showing extreme conduction slowing both in and around regions experiencing severe ischemia.