Multi-site harmonization of diffusion MRI data in a registration framework
Diffusion MRI (dMRI) data acquired on different scanners varies significantly in its content throughout the brain even if the acquisition parameters are nearly identical. Thus, proper harmonization of such data sets is necessary to increase the sample size and thereby the statistical power of neuroimaging studies. In this paper, we present a novel approach to harmonize dMRI data (the raw signal, instead of dMRI derived measures such as fractional anisotropy) using rotation invariant spherical harmonic (RISH) features embedded within a multi-modal image registration framework. All dMRI data sets from all sites are registered to a common template and voxel-wise differences in RISH features between sites at a group level are used to harmonize the signal in a subject-specific manner. We validate our method on diffusion data acquired from seven different sites (two GE, three Philips, and two Siemens scanners) on a group of age-matched healthy subjects. We demonstrate the efficacy of our method by statistically comparing diffusion measures such as fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity and generalized fractional anisotropy across these sites before and after data harmonization. Validation was also done on a group oftest subjects, which were not used to “learn” the harmonization parameters. We also show results using TBSS before and after harmonization for independent validation of the proposed methodology. Using synthetic data, we show that any abnormality in diffusion measures due to disease is preserved during the harmonization process. Our experimental results demonstrate that, for nearly identical acquisition protocol across sites, scanner-specific differences in the signal can be removed using the proposed method in a model independent manner.
KeywordsDiffusion MRI Harmonization Multi-site Inter-scanner Intra-site
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interests
The authors would like to acknowledge the following grants which supported this work: W81XWH-08-2- 0159 (Imaging Core PI: Shenton, Contact PI: Stein, Site PIs: George, Grant, Marx, McCallister, Zafonte; Other: Bouix, Coleman, Bouix, Kubicki, Mirzaalian, Pasternak, Savadjiev, Rathi), R01MH099797 (PI: Rathi), R01MH074794 (PI: Westin), P41EB015902 (PI: Kikinis), Swedish Research Council (VR) grant 2012-3682, Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF) grant AM13-0090, and VA Merit (PI: Shenton).
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed written consent was obtained from human participants, who were recruited based on approval from local Institutional review board (IRBs).
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