Construção e aplicação de atlas de pontos salientes 3D na inicialização de modelos geométricos deformáveis em imagens de ressonância magnética
Pinto, Carlos Henrique Villa
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The magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has become an indispensable tool for the diagnosis and study of various diseases and syndromes of the central nervous system, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In order to perform the precise diagnosis of a disease, as well as the evolutionary monitoring of a certain treatment, the neuroradiologist doctor often needs to measure and assess volume and shape changes in certain brain structures along a series of MR images. For that, the previous delineation of the structures of interest is necessary. In general, such task is manually done, with limited help from a computer, and therefore it has several problems. For this reason, many researchers have turned their efforts towards the development of automatic techniques for segmentation of brain structures in MR images. Among the various approaches proposed in the literature, techniques based on deformable models and anatomical atlases are among those which present the best results. However, one of the main difficulties in applying geometric deformable models is the initial positioning of the model. Thus, this research aimed to develop an atlas of 3D salient points (automatically detected from a set of MR images) and to investigate the applicability of such atlas in guiding the initial positioning of geometric deformable models representing brain structures, with the purpose of helping the automatic segmentation of such structures in MR images. The processing pipeline included the use of a 3D salient point detector based on the phase congruency measure, an adaptation of the shape contexts technique to create point descriptors and the estimation of a B-spline transform to map pairs of matching points. The results, evaluated using the Jaccard and Dice metrics before and after the model initializations, showed a significant gain in the tests involving synthetically deformed images of normal patients, but for images of clinical patients with AD the gain was marginal and can still be improved in future researches. Some ways to do such improvements are discussed in this work.