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dc.contributor.authorTaylor, Alexander Jamesen_US

Diffusion Tensor Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DT-MRI), also known as Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), is a unique medical imaging modality that provides non-invasive estimates of White Matter (WM) connectivity based on local principal directions of anisotropic water diffusion. DTI tractography estimates are a macroscopically sampled description of underlying microscopic structure, and are therefore of limited validity. The under-sampling of underlying white matter structure in DTI data gives rise to Intra-Voxel Orientational Heterogeneity (IVOH), a condition in which white matter structures of multiple different orientations are averaged into a single DTI voxel sample, causing a loss of validity in the diffusion tensor model. Fast Marching Tractography (FMT) algorithms based on fast marching level set methods have been proposed to better handle the presence of IVOH in DTI data when compared to older Streamline Tractography (SLT) methods. However, the actual performance advantage of any tractography algorithm over another cannot be conclusively stated until a ground truth standard of comparison is developed.

This work develops an optimized version of the FMT algorithm that is dubbed the Front Propagation Tractography (FPT) algorithm. The FPT algorithm includes unique approaches to the speed function, connectivity estimation, and likelihood estimation components of the FMT framework. The performance of the FPT algorithm is compared against the SLT algorithm using ground truth software phantom data and human brain data. Software phantom ground truth experiments compare the performance of each algorithm in single tract and crossing tract structures for varying levels of diffusion tensor field perturbation. Human brain estimates in the corpus callosum yield qualitative comparisons from inspection of 3D visualizations. A final area of exploration is the construction and analysis of a ground truth physical DTI phantom manifesting IVOH.

dc.publisherVirginia Techen_US
dc.rightsI hereby certify that, if appropriate, I have obtained and attached hereto a written permission statement from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis, dissertation, or project report, allowing distribution as specified below. I certify that the version I submitted is the same as that approved by my advisory committee. I hereby grant to Virginia Tech or its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified below, my thesis, dissertation, or project report in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis, dissertation or project report. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis, dissertation, or project report.en_US
dc.subjectDiffusion Tensor Imagingen_US
dc.subjectFast Marching Methoden_US
dc.subjectMagnetic Resonance Imagingen_US
dc.titleDiffusion Tensor Imaging: Evaluation of Tractography Algorithm Performance Using Ground Truth Phantomsen_US
dc.contributor.departmentElectrical and Computer Engineeringen_US of Scienceen_US Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen_US
dc.contributor.committeechairWyatt, Christopher L.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberAbbott, A. Lynnen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberKachroo, Pushkinen_US

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