Brain Morphometry

Structural MRI has become a powerful tool in brain research and clinical neurology. It offers physicians and researchers a noninvasive method for producing high-resolution images of the brain’s anatomical structure.and neurological pathologies (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Structural T1-weighted Magnetic Resonance Image, optimized for grey/white matter contrast

Figure 1: Structural T1-weighted Magnetic Resonance Image, optimized for grey/white matter contrast

Morphometry examines the physical shape and form of the brain and its structures. Taking advantage of advanced automated algorithms and software designed by our collaborators at the Multimodal Imaging Laboratory at UCSD, we are able to quantify subcortical volumes (see Figure 2) and cortical surface thicknesses (see Figure 3).

Figure 2: Automated segmentation of subcortical brain structures

Figure 2: Automated segmentation of subcortical brain structures

Figure 3: Pial and white matter surfaces are used to quantify cortical thickness across cortex

Figure 3: Pial and white matter surfaces are used to quantify cortical thickness across cortex

Figure 4: Cortical thickness map across the whole brain (red indicates larger thickness values)

Figure 4: Cortical thickness map across the whole brain (red indicates larger thickness values)

Analyzing these measurements in conjunction with visual representations of structural properties allows us to map and compare disease-related changes both between hemispheres of the same patient and between sub-populations of patients. The aim of this approach is to better our understanding of epilepsy-related structural changes as well as the relationship between those changes and the locations of seizure foci.

Example publications:
Butler T., Zaborszky L., Wang X., McDonald C. R., Blackmon K., Quinn B. T., Dubois J., Carlson C., Barr W. B., French J., Kuzniecky R., Halgren E., Devinsky O., & Thesen T. (2013) Septal nuclei enlargement in human temporal lobe epilepsy without mesial temporal sclerosis. Neurology. Jan 9. PMID: 23303846. [Pubmed] [PDF]

Blackmon K., Halgren E., Barr W. B., Carlson C., Devinsky O., DuBois J., French J., Kuzniecky R. & Thesen T. (2011) Individual differences in verbal abilities associated with regional blurring of the left gray and white matter boundary. Journal of Neuroscience, 26 October 2011, 31(43): 15257-15263. [Pubmed] [PDF]

Goldberg E., Roediger D., Kucukboyaci E. N., Carlson C., Devinsky O, Kuzniecky R., Halgren E., & Thesen T. (2011) Hemispheric Asymmetries of Cortical Volume in the Human Brain. Cortex, 2011 Nov 19, PMID: 2217687. [Pubmed] [PDF]

Blackmon K., Barr W. B., Carlson C., Devinsky O., Dubois J., Pogash D., Quinn B. T., Kuzniecky R., Halgren E., & Thesen T. Structural evidence for involvement of a left amygdala-orbitofrontal network in subclinical anxiety. Psychiatry Research. 2011 July 29. PubMed PMID: 21803551. [Pubmed] [PDF]

Thesen T., Carlson C. E., Quinn B. T., Devinsky O., Halgren,E., DuBois J., McDonald C. R., French J., Leventer R., Felsovalyi O., Wang X., & Kuzniecky R. (2010) Detection of Epileptogenic Malformations with Surface-based MRI Morphometry. PLOS One Feb 4;6(2):e16430. PMID: 21326599. [Pubmed] [PDF]