Exploratory Population Analysis with Unbalanced Optimal Transport


The plethora of data from neuroimaging studies provide a rich opportunity to discover effects and generate hypotheses through exploratory data analysis. Brain pathologies often manifest in changes in shape along with deterioration and alteration of brain matter, i.e., changes in mass. We propose a morphometry approach using unbalanced optimal transport that detects and localizes changes in mass and separates them from changes due to the location of mass. The approach generates images of mass allocation and mass transport cost for each subject in the population. Voxelwise correlations with clinical variables highlight regions of mass allocation or mass transfer related to the variables. We demonstrate the method on the white and gray matter segmentations from the OASIS brain MRI data set. The separation of white and gray matter ensures that optimal transport does not transfer mass between different tissues types and separates gray and white matter related changes. The OASIS data set includes subjects ranging from healthy to mild and moderate dementia, and the results corroborate known pathology changes related to dementia that are not discovered with traditional voxel-based morphometry. The transport-based morphometry increases the explanatory power of regression on clinical variables compared to traditional voxelbased morphometry, indicating that transport cost and mass allocation images capture a larger portion of pathology induced changes.

Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention - MICCAI 2018 - 21st International Conference, Granada, Spain, September 16-20, 2018, Proceedings, Part III
Marc Niethammer
Marc Niethammer
Professor of Computer Science

My research interests include image registration, image segmentation, shape analysis, machine learning, and biomedical applications.