We compared the cranial base of newborn Pax7-deficient and wildtype mice using a computational shape modeling technology called particle-based modeling (PBM). We found systematic differences in the morphology of the basiooccipital bone, including a broadening of the basioccipital bone and an antero-inferior inflection of its posterior edge in the Pax7-deficient mice. We show that the Pax7 cell lineage contributes to the basioccipital bone and that the location of the Pax7 lineage correlates with the morphology most effected by Pax7 deficiency. Our results suggest that the Pax7-deficient mouse may be a suitable model for investigating the genetic control of the location and orientation of the foramen magnum, and changes in the breadth of the basioccipital.
M. Kern, A. Lex, N. Gehlenborg, C. R. Johnson.
Interactive Visual Exploration And Refinement Of Cluster Assignments, In BMC Bioinformatics, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, April, 2017.
With ever-increasing amounts of data produced in biology research, scientists are in need of efficient data analysis methods. Cluster analysis, combined with visualization of the results, is one such method that can be used to make sense of large data volumes. At the same time, cluster analysis is known to be imperfect and depends on the choice of algorithms, parameters, and distance measures. Most clustering algorithms don't properly account for ambiguity in the source data, as records are often assigned to discrete clusters, even if an assignment is unclear. While there are metrics and visualization techniques that allow analysts to compare clusterings or to judge cluster quality, there is no comprehensive method that allows analysts to evaluate, compare, and refine cluster assignments based on the source data, derived scores, and contextual data.
In this paper, we introduce a method that explicitly visualizes the quality of cluster assignments, allows comparisons of clustering results and enables analysts to manually curate and refine cluster assignments. Our methods are applicable to matrix data clustered with partitional, hierarchical, and fuzzy clustering algorithms. Furthermore, we enable analysts to explore clustering results in context of other data, for example, to observe whether a clustering of genomic data results in a meaningful differentiation in phenotypes.
Our methods are integrated into Caleydo StratomeX, a popular, web-based, disease subtype analysis tool. We show in a usage scenario that our approach can reveal ambiguities in cluster assignments and produce improved clusterings that better differentiate genotypes and phenotypes.
Y. Wan, C. Hansen. Uncertainty Footprint: Visualization of Nonuniform Behavior of Iterative Algorithms Applied to 4D Cell Tracking, In Computer Graphics Forum, Wiley, 2017.
Research on microscopy data from developing biological samples usually requires tracking individual cells over time. When cells are three-dimensionally and densely packed in a time-dependent scan of volumes, tracking results can become unreliable and uncertain. Not only are cell segmentation results often inaccurate to start with, but it also lacks a simple method to evaluate the tracking outcome. Previous cell tracking methods have been validated against benchmark data from real scans or artificial data, whose ground truth results are established by manual work or simulation. However, the wide variety of real-world data makes an exhaustive validation impossible. Established cell tracking tools often fail on new data, whose issues are also difficult to diagnose with only manual examinations. Therefore, data-independent tracking evaluation methods are desired for an explosion of microscopy data with increasing scale and resolution. In this paper, we propose the uncertainty footprint, an uncertainty quantification and visualization technique that examines nonuniformity at local convergence for an iterative evaluation process on a spatial domain supported by partially overlapping bases. We demonstrate that the patterns revealed by the uncertainty footprint indicate data processing quality in two algorithms from a typical cell tracking workflow – cell identification and association. A detailed analysis of the patterns further allows us to diagnose issues and design methods for improvements. A 4D cell tracking workflow equipped with the uncertainty footprint is capable of self diagnosis and correction for a higher accuracy than previous methods whose evaluation is limited by manual examinations.
Image segmentation and registration techniques have enabled biologists to place large amounts of volume data from fluorescence microscopy, morphed three-dimensionally, onto a common spatial frame. Existing tools built on volume visualization pipelines for single channel or red-green-blue (RGB) channels have become inadequate for the new challenges of fluorescence microscopy. For a three-dimensional atlas of the insect nervous system, hundreds of volume channels are rendered simultaneously, whereas fluorescence intensity values from each channel need to be preserved for versatile adjustment and analysis. Although several existing tools have incorporated support of multichannel data using various strategies, the lack of a flexible design has made true many-channel visualization and analysis unavailable. The most common practice for many-channel volume data presentation is still converting and rendering pseudosurfaces, which are inaccurate for both qualitative and quantitative evaluations.
Here, we present an alternative design strategy that accommodates the visualization and analysis of about 100 volume channels, each of which can be interactively adjusted, selected, and segmented using freehand tools. Our multichannel visualization includes a multilevel streaming pipeline plus a triple-buffer compositing technique. Our method also preserves original fluorescence intensity values on graphics hardware, a crucial feature that allows graphics-processing-unit (GPU)-based processing for interactive data analysis, such as freehand segmentation. We have implemented the design strategies as a thorough restructuring of our original tool, FluoRender.
The redesign of FluoRender not only maintains the existing multichannel capabilities for a greatly extended number of volume channels, but also enables new analysis functions for many-channel data from emerging biomedical-imaging techniques.
K. Aras B. Burton, D. Swenson, R.S. MacLeod. Spatial organization of acute myocardial ischemia, In Journal of Electrocardiology, Vol. 49, No. 3, Elsevier, pp. 323–336. May, 2016.
Myocardial ischemia is a pathological condition initiated by supply and demand imbalance of the blood to the heart. Previous studies suggest that ischemia originates in the subendocardium, i.e., that nontransmural ischemia is limited to the subendocardium. By contrast, we hypothesized that acute myocardial ischemia is not limited to the subendocardium and sought to document its spatial distribution in an animal preparation. The goal of these experiments was to investigate the spatial organization of ischemia and its relationship to the resulting shifts in ST segment potentials during short episodes of acute ischemia.
We conducted acute ischemia studies in open-chest canines (N = 19) and swines (N = 10), which entailed creating carefully controlled ischemia using demand, supply or complete occlusion ischemia protocols and recording intramyocardial and epicardial potentials. Elevation of the potentials at 40% of the ST segment between the J-point and the peak of the T-wave (ST40%) provided the metric for local ischemia. The threshold for ischemic ST segment elevations was defined as two standard deviations away from the baseline values.
The relative frequency of occurrence of acute ischemia was higher in the subendocardium (78% for canines and 94% for swines) and the mid-wall (87% for canines and 97% for swines) in comparison with the subepicardium (30% for canines and 22% for swines). In addition, acute ischemia was seen arising throughout the myocardium (distributed pattern) in 87% of the canine and 94% of the swine episodes. Alternately, acute ischemia was seen originating only in the subendocardium (subendocardial pattern) in 13% of the canine episodes and 6% of the swine episodes (p < 0.05).
Our findings suggest that the spatial distribution of acute ischemia is a complex phenomenon arising throughout the myocardial wall and is not limited to the subendocardium.
P.R. Atkins, S.Y. Elhabian, P. Agrawal, M.D. Harris, R.T. Whitaker, J.A. Weiss, C.L. Peters, A.E. Anderson.
Quantitative comparison of cortical bone thickness using correspondence-based shape modeling in patients with cam femoroacetabular impingement, In Journal of Orthopaedic Research, Wiley-Blackwell, Nov, 2016.
The proximal femur is abnormally shaped in patients with cam-type femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). Impingement
may elicit bone remodeling at the proximal femur, causing increases in cortical bone thickness. We used correspondence-based shape modeling to quantify and compare cortical thickness between cam patients and controls for the location of the cam lesion and the proximal femur. Computed tomography images were segmented for 45 controls and 28 cam-type FAI patients. The segmentations were input to a correspondence-based shape model to identify the region of the cam lesion. Median cortical thickness data over the region of the cam lesion and the proximal femur were compared between mixed-gender and gender-speciﬁc groups. Median [interquartile range] thickness was signiﬁcantly greater in FAI patients than controls in the cam lesion (1.47 [0.64] vs. 1.13 [0.22] mm, respectively; p < 0.001) and proximal femur (1.28 [0.30] vs. 0.97 [0.22] mm, respectively; p < 0.001). Maximum thickness in the region of the cam lesion was more anterior and less lateral (p < 0.001) in FAI patients. Male FAI patients had increased thickness compared to male controls in the cam lesion (1.47 [0.72] vs. 1.10 [0.19] mm, respectively; p < 0.001) and proximal femur (1.25 [0.29] vs. 0.94 [0.17] mm, respectively; p < 0.001). Thickness was not signiﬁcantly different between male and female controls. Clinical signiﬁcance: Studies of non-pathologic cadavers have provided guidelines regarding safe surgical resection depth for FAI patients. However, our results suggest impingement induces cortical thickening in cam patients, which may strengthen the proximal femur. Thus, these previously established guidelines may be too conservative.
The central thalamus (CT) is a key component of the brain-wide network underlying arousal regulation and sensory-motor integration during wakefulness in the mammalian brain. Dysfunction of the CT, typically a result of severe brain injury (SBI), leads to long-lasting impairments in arousal regulation and subsequent deficits in cognition. Central thalamic deep brain stimulation (CT-DBS) is proposed as a therapy to reestablish and maintain arousal regulation to improve cognition in select SBI patients. However, a mechanistic understanding of CT-DBS and an optimal method of implementing this promising therapy are unknown. Here we demonstrate in two healthy nonhuman primates (NHPs), Macaca mulatta, that location-specific CT-DBS improves performance in visuomotor tasks and is associated with physiological effects consistent with enhancement of endogenous arousal. Specifically, CT-DBS within the lateral wing of the central lateral nucleus and the surrounding medial dorsal thalamic tegmental tract (DTTm) produces a rapid and robust modulation of performance and arousal, as measured by neuronal activity in the frontal cortex and striatum. Notably, the most robust and reliable behavioral and physiological responses resulted when we implemented a novel method of CT-DBS that orients and shapes the electric field within the DTTm using spatially separated DBS leads. Collectively, our results demonstrate that selective activation within the DTTm of the CT robustly regulates endogenous arousal and enhances cognitive performance in the intact NHP; these findings provide insights into the mechanism of CT-DBS and further support the development of CT-DBS as a therapy for reestablishing arousal regulation to support cognition in SBI patients.
Probabilistic label maps are a useful tool for important medical image analysis tasks such as segmentation, shape analysis, and atlas building. Existing methods typically rely on blurred signed distance maps or smoothed label maps to model uncertainties and shape variabilities, which do not conform to any generative model or estimation process, and are therefore suboptimal. In this paper, we propose to learn probabilistic label maps using a generative model on given set of binary label maps. The proposed approach generalizes well on unseen data while simultaneously capturing the variability in the training samples. Efficiency of the proposed approach is demonstrated for consensus generation and shape-based clustering using synthetic datasets as well as left atrial segmentations from late-gadolinium enhancement MRI.
This paper addresses the challenge of extracting meaningful information from measured bioelectric signals generated by complex, large scale physiological systems such as the brain or the heart. We focus on a combination of the well-known Laplacian eigenmaps machine learning approach with dynamical systems ideas to analyze emergent dynamic behaviors. The method reconstructs the abstract dynamical system phase-space geometry of the embedded measurements and tracks changes in physiological conditions or activities through changes in that geometry. It is geared to extract information from the joint behavior of time traces obtained from large sensor arrays, such as those used in multiple-electrode ECG and EEG, and explore the geometrical structure of the low dimensional embedding of moving time windows of those joint snapshots. Our main contribution is a method for mapping vectors from the phase space to the data domain. We present cases to evaluate the methods, including a synthetic example using the chaotic Lorenz system, several sets of cardiac measurements from both canine and human hearts, and measurements from a human brain.
Reconstruction of the electrical sources of human EEG activity at high spatio-temporal accuracy is an important aim in neuroscience and neurological diagnostics. Over the last decades, numerous studies have demonstrated that realistic modeling of head anatomy improves the accuracy of source reconstruction of EEG signals. For example, including a cerebro-spinal fluid compartment and the anisotropy of white matter electrical conductivity were both shown to significantly reduce modeling errors. Here, we for the first time quantify the role of detailed reconstructions of the cerebral blood vessels in volume conductor head modeling for EEG. To study the role of the highly arborized cerebral blood vessels, we created a submillimeter head model based on ultra-high-field-strength (7T) structural MRI datasets. Blood vessels (arteries and emissary/intraosseous veins) were segmented using Frangi multi-scale vesselness filtering. The final head model consisted of a geometry-adapted cubic mesh with over 17×10(6) nodes. We solved the forward model using a finite-element-method (FEM) transfer matrix approach, which allowed reducing computation times substantially and quantified the importance of the blood vessel compartment by computing forward and inverse errors resulting from ignoring the blood vessels. Our results show that ignoring emissary veins piercing the skull leads to focal localization errors of approx. 5 to 15mm. Large errors (>2cm) were observed due to the carotid arteries and the dense arterial vasculature in areas such as in the insula or in the medial temporal lobe. Thus, in such predisposed areas, errors caused by neglecting blood vessels can reach similar magnitudes as those previously reported for neglecting white matter anisotropy, the CSF or the dura - structures which are generally considered important components of realistic EEG head models. Our findings thus imply that including a realistic blood vessel compartment in EEG head models will be helpful to improve the accuracy of EEG source analyses particularly when high accuracies in brain areas with dense vasculature are required.
Vision loss after optic neuropathy is considered irreversible. Here, repetitive transorbital alternating current stimulation (rtACS) was applied in partially blind patients with the goal of activating their residual vision.
We conducted a multicenter, prospective, randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial in an ambulatory setting with daily application of rtACS (n = 45) or sham-stimulation (n = 37) for 50 min for a duration of 10 week days. A volunteer sample of patients with optic nerve damage (mean age 59.1 yrs) was recruited. The primary outcome measure for efficacy was super-threshold visual fields with 48 hrs after the last treatment day and at 2-months follow-up. Secondary outcome measures were near-threshold visual fields, reaction time, visual acuity, and resting-state EEGs to assess changes in brain physiology.
The rtACS-treated group had a mean improvement in visual field of 24.0% which was significantly greater than after sham-stimulation (2.5%). This improvement persisted for at least 2 months in terms of both within- and between-group comparisons. Secondary analyses revealed improvements of near-threshold visual fields in the central 5° and increased thresholds in static perimetry after rtACS and improved reaction times, but visual acuity did not change compared to shams. Visual field improvement induced by rtACS was associated with EEG power-spectra and coherence alterations in visual cortical networks which are interpreted as signs of neuromodulation. Current flow simulation indicates current in the frontal cortex, eye, and optic nerve and in the subcortical but not in the cortical regions.
rtACS treatment is a safe and effective means to partially restore vision after optic nerve damage probably by modulating brain plasticity. This class 1 evidence suggests that visual fields can be improved in a clinically meaningful way.
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) aims to alter brain function non-invasively via electrodes placed on the scalp. Conventional tDCS uses two relatively large patch electrodes to deliver electrical current to the brain region of interest (ROI). Recent studies have shown that using dense arrays containing up to 512 smaller electrodes may increase the precision of targeting ROIs. However, this creates a need for methods to determine effective and safe stimulus patterns as the number of degrees of freedom is much higher with such arrays. Several approaches to this problem have appeared in the literature. In this paper, we describe a new method for calculating optimal electrode stimulus patterns for targeted and directional modulation in dense array tDCS which differs in some important aspects with methods reported to date.
We optimize stimulus pattern of dense arrays with fixed electrode placement to maximize the current density in a particular direction in the ROI. We impose a flexible set of safety constraints on the current power in the brain, individual electrode currents, and total injected current, to protect subject safety. The proposed optimization problem is convex and thus efficiently solved using existing optimization software to find unique and globally optimal electrode stimulus patterns.
Solutions for four anatomical ROIs based on a realistic head model are shown as exemplary results. To illustrate the differences between our approach and previously introduced methods, we compare our method with two of the other leading methods in the literature. We also report on extensive simulations that show the effect of the values chosen for each proposed safety constraint bound on the optimized stimulus patterns.
The proposed optimization approach employs volume based ROIs, easily adapts to different sets of safety constraints, and takes negligible time to compute. An in-depth comparison study gives insight into the relationship between different objective criteria and optimized stimulus patterns. In addition, the analysis of the interaction between optimized stimulus patterns and safety constraint bounds suggests that more precise current localization in the ROI, with improved safety criterion, may be achieved by careful selection of the constraint bounds.
B. Hollister, G. Duffley, C. Butson,, C.R. Johnson. Visualization for Understanding Uncertainty in Activation Volumes for Deep Brain Stimulation, In Eurographics Conference on Visualization, Edited by K.L. Ma G. Santucci, and J. van Wijk, 2016.
We have created the Neurostimulation Uncertainty Viewer (nuView or nView) tool for exploring data arising from deep brain stimulation (DBS). Simulated volume of tissue activated (VTA), using clinical electrode placements, are recorded along withpatient outcomes in the Unified Parkinson's disease rating scale (UPDRS). The data is volumetric and sparse, with multi-value patient results for each activated voxel in the simulation. nView provides a collection of visual methods to explore the activated tissue to enhance understanding of electrode usage for improved therapy with DBS.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a public health problem worldwide. There is increasing interest in using non-invasive therapies such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to treat MDD. However, the changes induced by rTMS on neural circuits remain poorly characterized. The present study aims to test whether the brain regions previously targeted by deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the treatment of MDD respond to rTMS, and whether functional connectivity (FC) measures can predict clinical response.
rTMS (20 sessions) was administered to five MDD patients at the left-dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (L-DLPFC) over 4 weeks. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) recordings and Montgomery-Asberg depression rating scale (MADRS) assessments were acquired before, during and after treatment. Our primary measures, obtained with MEG source imaging, were changes in power spectral density (PSD) and changes in FC as measured using coherence.
Of the five patients, four met the clinical response criterion (40% or greater decrease in MADRS) after 4 weeks of treatment. An increase in gamma power at the L-DLPFC was correlated with improvement in symptoms. We also found that increases in delta band connectivity between L-DLPFC/amygdala and L-DLPFC/pregenual anterior cingulate cortex (pACC), and decreases in gamma band connectivity between L-DLPFC/subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sACC), were correlated with improvements in depressive symptoms.
Our results suggest that non-invasive intervention techniques, such as rTMS, modulate the ongoing activity of depressive circuits targeted for DBS, and that MEG can capture these changes. Gamma oscillations may originate from GABA-mediated inhibition, which increases synchronization of large neuronal populations, possibly leading to increased long-range FC. We postulate that responses to rTMS could provide valuable insights into early evaluation of patient candidates for DBS surgery.
I.A. Polejaeva, R. Ranjan, C.J. Davies, M. Regouski, J. Hall, A.L. Olsen, Q. Meng, H.M. Rutigliano, D.J. Dosdall, N.A. Angel, F.B. Sachse, T. Seidel, A.J. Thomas, R. Stott, K.E. Panter, P.M. Lee, A.J. Van Wettere, J.R. Stevens, Z. Wang, R.S. Macleod, N.F. Marrouche, K.L. White.
Increased Susceptibility to Atrial Fibrillation Secondary to Atrial Fibrosis in Transgenic Goats Expressing Transforming Growth Factor-β1, In Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology, Vol. 27, No. 10, Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 1220--1229. Aug, 2016.
Large animal models of progressive atrial fibrosis would provide an attractive platform to study relationship between structural and electrical remodeling in atrial fibrillation (AF). Here we established a new transgenic goat model of AF with cardiac specific overexpression of TGF-β1 and investigated the changes in the cardiac structure and function leading to AF.
Methods and Results
Transgenic goats with cardiac specific overexpression of constitutively active TGF-β1 were generated by somatic cell nuclear transfer. We examined myocardial tissue, ECGs, echocardiographic data, and AF susceptibility in transgenic and wild-type control goats. Transgenic goats exhibited significant increase in fibrosis and myocyte diameters in the atria compared to controls, but not in the ventricles. P-wave duration was significantly greater in transgenic animals starting at 12 months of age, but no significant chamber enlargement was detected, suggesting conduction slowing in the atria. Furthermore, this transgenic goat model exhibited a significant increase in AF vulnerability. Six of 8 transgenic goats (75%) were susceptible to AF induction and exhibited sustained AF (>2 minutes), whereas none of 6 controls displayed sustained AF (P < 0.01). Length of induced AF episodes was also significantly greater in the transgenic group compared to controls (687 ± 212.02 seconds vs. 2.50 ± 0.88 seconds, P < 0.0001), but no persistent or permanent AF was observed.
A novel transgenic goat model with a substrate for AF was generated. In this model, cardiac overexpression of TGF-β1 led to an increase in fibrosis and myocyte size in the atria, and to progressive P-wave prolongation. We suggest that these factors underlie increased AF susceptibility.
M. Raj, M. Mirzargar, R. Kirby, R. Whitaker, J. Preston.
Evaluating Shape Alignment via Ensemble Visualization, In IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, Vol. 36, No. 3, IEEE, pp. 60--71. May, 2016.
The visualization of variability in surfaces embedded in 3D, which is a type of ensemble uncertainty visualization, provides a means of understanding the underlying distribution of a collection or ensemble of surfaces. This work extends the contour boxplot technique to 3D and evaluates it against an enumeration-style visualization of the ensemble members and other conventional visualizations used by atlas builders. The authors demonstrate the efficacy of using the 3D contour boxplot ensemble visualization technique to analyze shape alignment and variability in atlas construction and analysis as a real-world application.
X. Tong, J. Edwards, C. Chen, H. Shen, C. R. Johnson, P. Wong.
View-Dependent Streamline Deformation and Exploration, In Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, Vol. 22, No. 7, IEEE, pp. 1788--1801. July, 2016.
Occlusion presents a major challenge in visualizing 3D flow and tensor fields using streamlines. Displaying too many streamlines creates a dense visualization filled with occluded structures, but displaying too few streams risks losing important features. We propose a new streamline exploration approach by visually manipulating the cluttered streamlines by pulling visible layers apart and revealing the hidden structures underneath. This paper presents a customized view-dependent deformation algorithm and an interactive visualization tool to minimize visual clutter in 3D vector and tensor fields. The algorithm is able to maintain the overall integrity of the fields and expose previously hidden structures. Our system supports both mouse and direct-touch interactions to manipulate the viewing perspectives and visualize the streamlines in depth. By using a lens metaphor of different shapes to select the transition zone of the targeted area interactively, the users can move their focus and examine the vector or tensor field freely.
Keywords: Context;Deformable models;Lenses;Shape;Streaming media;Three-dimensional displays;Visualization;Flow visualization;deformation;focus+context;occlusion;streamline;white matter tracts
K.K. Aras, W. Good, J. Tate, B.M. Burton, D.H. Brooks, J. Coll-Font, O. Doessel, W. Schulze, D. Patyogaylo, L. Wang, P. Van Dam,, R.S. MacLeod. Experimental Data and Geometric Analysis Repository: EDGAR, In Journal of Electrocardiology, 2015.
The "Experimental Data and Geometric Analysis Repository", or EDGAR is an Internet-based archive of curated data that are freely distributed to the international research community for the application and validation of electrocardiographic imaging (ECGI) techniques. The EDGAR project is a collaborative effort by the Consortium for ECG Imaging (CEI, ecg-imaging.org), and focused on two specific aims. One aim is to host an online repository that provides access to a wide spectrum of data, and the second aim is to provide a standard information format for the exchange of these diverse datasets.
The EDGAR system is composed of two interrelated components: 1) a metadata model, which includes a set of descriptive parameters and information, time signals from both the cardiac source and body-surface, and extensive geometric information, including images, geometric models, and measure locations used during the data acquisition/generation; and 2) a web interface. This web interface provides efficient, search, browsing, and retrieval of data from the repository.
An aggregation of experimental, clinical and simulation data from various centers is being made available through the EDGAR project including experimental data from animal studies provided by the University of Utah (USA), clinical data from multiple human subjects provided by the Charles University Hospital (Czech Republic), and computer simulation data provided by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany).
It is our hope that EDGAR will serve as a communal forum for sharing and distribution of cardiac electrophysiology data and geometric models for use in ECGI research.
CIBC. Note: Data Sets: NCRR Center for Integrative Biomedical Computing (CIBC) data set archive. Download from: http://www.sci.utah.edu/cibc/software.html, 2015.