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Subject-Motion Correction in HARDI Acquisitions: Choices and Consequences

1Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.
2Faculty of Computers and Information, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt.
3IBM Almaden Research Center, San Jose, CA, USA.
4Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
5Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Montreal Neurological Institute, Montreal, QC, Canada.
Publication Date:
Front Neurol.
Volume Number:
Front Neurol. 2014 Dec; 5: 240.
PubMed ID:
HARDI, subject motion, motion correction, fiber orientations, orientation distribution functions, tractography comparison, impact quantification
Appears in Collections:
R01 HD055741/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
U54 EB005149/EB/NIBIB NIH HHS/United States
P01 DA022446/DA/NIDA NIH HHS/United States
P41 RR012553/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
Generated Citation:
Elhabian S., Gur Y., Vachet C., Piven J., Styner M., Leppert I.R., Pike B., Gerig G. Subject-Motion Correction in HARDI Acquisitions: Choices and Consequences. Front Neurol. 2014 Dec; 5: 240. PMID: 25538672. PMCID: PMC4260507.
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Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) is known to be prone to artifacts related to motion originating from subject movement, cardiac pulsation, and breathing, but also to mechanical issues such as table vibrations. Given the necessity for rigorous quality control and motion correction, users are often left to use simple heuristics to select correction schemes, which involves simple qualitative viewing of the set of DWI data, or the selection of transformation parameter thresholds for detection of motion outliers. The scientific community offers strong theoretical and experimental work on noise reduction and orientation distribution function (ODF) reconstruction techniques for HARDI data, where post-acquisition motion correction is widely performed, e.g., using the open-source DTIprep software (1), FSL (the FMRIB Software Library) (2), or TORTOISE (3). Nonetheless, effects and consequences of the selection of motion correction schemes on the final analysis, and the eventual risk of introducing confounding factors when comparing populations, are much less known and far beyond simple intuitive guessing. Hence, standard users lack clear guidelines and recommendations in practical settings. This paper reports a comprehensive evaluation framework to systematically assess the outcome of different motion correction choices commonly used by the scientific community on different DWI-derived measures. We make use of human brain HARDI data from a well-controlled motion experiment to simulate various degrees of motion corruption and noise contamination. Choices for correction include exclusion/scrubbing or registration of motion corrupted directions with different choices of interpolation, as well as the option of interpolation of all directions. The comparative evaluation is based on a study of the impact of motion correction using four metrics that quantify (1) similarity of fiber orientation distribution functions (fODFs), (2) deviation of local fiber orientations, (3) global brain connectivity via graph diffusion distance (GDD), and (4) the reproducibility of prominent and anatomically defined fiber tracts. Effects of various motion correction choices are systematically explored and illustrated, leading to a general conclusion of discouraging users from setting ad hoc thresholds on the estimated motion parameters beyond which volumes are claimed to be corrupted.

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