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FiberNet 2.0: An Automatic Neural Network Based Tool for Clustering White Matter Fibers in the Brain

By Vikash Gupta, Sophia I Thomopoulos, Conor K. Corbin, Faisal Rashid, Paul M. Thompson

Posted 29 Oct 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/210781

The brain's white matter fiber tracts are impaired in a range of common and devastating conditions, from Alzheimer's disease to brain trauma, and in developmental disorders such as autism and neurogenetic syndromes. Many studies now examine the connectivity and microstructure of the brain's neural pathways, spurring the development of algorithms to extract and measure tracts and fiber bundles. Clustering white matter (WM) fibers, from whole-brain tractography, into anatomically meaningful bundles is still a challenging problem. Existing tract segmentation methods use atlases or regions of interest (ROI) or unsupervised spectral clustering. Even so, atlas-based segmentation does not always partition the brain into a set of recognizable fiber bundles. Deep learning techniques can be applied to automatically segment and cluster white matter fibers. Here we propose a robust approach using convolutional neural networks (CNNs) to learn shape features of the fiber bundles, which we then exploit to cluster WM fibers into bundles. In a range of tests across diverse fiber bundles, we illustrate the accuracy of our method, and its ability to suppress false positive fibers.

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