Generating Templates and Growth Charts for School-Aged Brain Development
F. Xavier Castellanos,
B.T. Thomas Yeo,
Christian F. Beckmann,
Michael P. Milham,
Posted 28 Aug 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/747352
Posted 28 Aug 2019
Standard brain templates and growth charts provide an invaluable resource for basic science research, with the eventual goal of contributing to the clinical care of neuropsychiatric conditions. Here, we report on a protocol to generate MRI brain templates in children and adolescents at one-year intervals from 6-to-18 years of age, with their corresponding growth charts, using a large-scale neuroimaging data resource (948 brain images from China and United States). To assure that the brain templates and growth charts are reliable and accurate, we developed a refined pipeline consisting of template construction, image registration, brain area labeling and growth chart modeling. The pipeline comprises multiple modular workflows that can be used for multiple applications. In our approach, population- and age-specific templates were first constructed to avoid systemic bias in registration. Brain areas were then labeled based on the appropriate templates, and their morphological metrics were extracted for modeling associated growth curves. We implemented warp cost as a function of age differences between individual brains and template brains. A strong U-shaped cost function was revealed, indicating larger age differences are associated with greater registration errors. This validates the necessity of age-specific reference templates in pediatric brain imaging studies. Growth chart analyses revealed preferential shape differences between Chinese and US samples in lateral frontal and parietal areas, aspects of cortex which are most variable across individuals with regard to structure and function as well as associated behavioral performance. This growth distinction is largely driven by neurodevelopmental differences between Chinese and US age-specific brain templates. The pipeline together with the brain templates and charts are publicly available and integrated into the Connectome Computation System.
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