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Title: Spatio-temporal modeling and analysis of brain development
Author: Serag, Ahmed
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 8116
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2013
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The incidence of preterm birth is increasing and has emerged as a leading cause of neurodevelopmental impairment in childhood. In early development, defined here as the period before and around birth, the brain undergoes significant morphological, functional and appearance changes. The scope and rate of change is arguably greater than at any other time in life, but quantitative markers of this period of development are limited. Improved understanding of cerebral changes during this critical period is important for mapping normal growth, and for investigating mechanisms of injury associated with risk factors for maldevelopment such as premature birth. The objective of this thesis is the development of methods for spatio-temporal modeling and quantitative measures of brain development that can assist understanding the patterns of normal growth and can guide interventions designed to reduce the burden of preterm brain injury. An approach for constructing high-definition spatio-temporal atlases of the developing brain is introduced. A novelty in the proposed approach is the use of a time-varying kernel width, to overcome the variations in the distribution of subjects at different ages. This leads to an atlas that retains a consistent level of detail at every time-point. The resulting 4D fetal and neonatal average atlases have greater anatomic definition than currently available 4D atlases, an important factor in improving registrations between the atlas and individual subjects with clear anatomical structures and atlas-based automatic segmentation. The fetal atlas provides a natural benchmark for assessing preterm born neonates and gives some insight into differences between the groups. Also, a novel framework for longitudinal registration which can accommodate large intra-subject anatomical variations is introduced. The framework exploits previously developed spatio-temporal atlases, which can aid the longitudinal registration process as it provides prior information about the missing anatomical evolution between two scans taken over large time-interval. Finally, a voxel-wise analysis framework is proposed which complements the analysis of changes in brain morphology by the study of spatio-temporal signal intensity changes in multi-modal MRI, which can offer a useful marker of neurodevelopmental changes.
Supervisor: Rueckert, Daniel ; Counsell, Serena Sponsor: Chloe-Svider Grant
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral