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1.  Possible confounding factors on cerebral diffusion tensor imaging measurements 
Acta Radiologica Open  2015;4(2):2047981614546795.
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is prone to numerous systemic confounding factors that should be acknowledged to avoid false conclusions.
To investigate the possible effects of age, gender, smoking, alcohol consumption, and education on cerebral DTI parameters in a generally healthy homogenous sample with no neurological or psychiatric diseases.
Material and Methods
Forty (n = 40) subjects (mean age, 40.3 years; SD, 12.3) underwent brain DTI with 3 T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). At enrolment, all the subjects were interviewed with respect to general health, education, history of smoking, and alcohol consumption. Studied DTI parameters included: (i) fractional anisotropy (FA); and (ii) apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC). Region-of-interest (ROI)-based measurements were estimated at 13 anatomical locations bilaterally on the axial images, except for the corpus callosum in which the ROIs were placed on the sagittal images. Circular ROI measurements were mainly used. Freehand ROI method was used with the forceps minor, uncinate fasciculus, and thalamus. Intra-observer variability and repeatability were assessed.
The most consistent finding was that aging decreased FA values in the frontal brain regions. Regarding the other confounding factors, the results were discontinuous and no concrete conclusions could be drawn from these findings. In general, intra-observer repeatability of the DTI measurement was considered relatively good.
Age should be noted as considerable confounding factors in ROI-based DTI analysis. More research on the effects of gender, smoking, alcohol consumption, and education is needed.
PMCID: PMC4364398  PMID: 25793107
Central nervous system; diffusion tensor imaging; brain; adults
2.  Preoperative White Matter Lesions Are Independent Predictors of Long-Term Survival after Internal Carotid Endarterectomy 
Cerebrovascular Diseases Extra  2014;4(2):122-131.
Cerebral white matter lesions (WMLs) predict long-term survival of conservatively treated acute stroke patients with etiology other than carotid stenosis. In carotid endarterectomy patients, WMLs are associated with severe carotid stenosis and unstable plaques, with the risk of perioperative complications and with increased 30-day perioperative risk of death. However, no data exist on their effect on postoperative long-term survival, a factor important when considering the net benefit from carotid endarterectomy. Whether this effect is independent of classical risk factors and indications for surgery is not known either. We hypothesized that WMLs could be evaluated from preoperative routine computed tomography (CT) scans and are predictors of postoperative survival, independent of classical cardiovascular risk factors, indication category and degree of carotid stenosis.
A total of 353 of 481 (73.4%) consecutive patients subjected to carotid endarterectomy due to different indications, i.e. asymptomatic stenosis (n = 28, 7.9%), amaurosis fugax (n = 52, 14.7%), transient ischemic attack (n = 135, 38.2%) or ischemic stroke (n = 138, 39.1%), from prospective vascular registries during the years 2001-2010 with digital preoperative CT scans, were included in the study. WMLs were rated by a radiologist (Wahlund criteria) in a blinded fashion. Internal carotid artery (ICA) stenoses were angiographically graded (<50, 50-69, 70-99 and 100%). Odds ratios (ORs) and hazard ratios (HRs) are reported (ORs and HRs ≤1 indicate a beneficial effect). The median follow-up time was 67 months (interquartile range 45.5, range 0-129 months). Spearman's rho was used to estimate intraobserver agreement. Binary logistic regression was performed to analyze the association of risk factors with WMLs. Cox regression proportional hazards analysis was used to study the effect of different factors on survival.
WML severity could be assessed with a substantial intraobserver agreement (Spearman's rho 0.843, p < 0.0001). Only age (OR 1.10, 95% CI 1.06-1.15; p < 0.0001 per year), degree of ipsilateral ICA stenosis (OR 2.22, 95% CI 1.08-4.55; p < 0.05 per stenosis grade) and indication category (OR 1.63, 95% CI 1.19-2.24; p < 0.01 per category) remained independently associated with WMLs. Age (HR 1.04, 95% CI 1.01-1.08; p < 0.05 per year), diabetes (HR 1.59, 95% CI 1.01-2.49; p < 0.05), peripheral arterial disease (HR 2.47, 95% CI 1.46-4.15; p < 0.01), degree of ipsilateral ICA stenosis (HR 2.56, 95% CI 1.12-5.87; p < 0.05 per stenosis grade) and WMLs (HR 3.83, 95% CI 1.17-12.5; p < 0.05) remained independently associated with increased long-term mortality.
WMLs in a preoperative CT scan provide a substantially reliable estimate of postoperative long-term survival of carotid endarterectomy patients independent of currently used criteria, i.e. cardiovascular risk factors, indication category and degree of ipsilateral ICA stenosis.
PMCID: PMC4093648  PMID: 25076957
Carotid artery stenosis; White matter lesions; Carotid endarterectomy
3.  Correlations between Functional Imaging Markers Derived from PET/CT and Diffusion-Weighted MRI in Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma and Follicular Lymphoma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e84999.
To investigate the correlations between functional imaging markers derived from positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and follicular lymphoma (FL). Further to compare the usefulness of these tumor markers in differentiating diagnosis of the two common types of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL).
Materials and Methods
Thirty-four consecutive pre-therapy adult patients with proven NHL (23 DLBCL and 11 FL) underwent PET/CT and MRI examinations and laboratory tests. The maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax), metabolic tumor volume (MTV), and metabolic tumor burden (MTB) were determined from the PET/CT images. DWI was performed in addition to conventional MRI sequences using two b values (0 and 800 s/mm2). The minimum and mean apparent diffusion coefficient (ADCmin and ADCmean) were measured on the parametric ADC maps.
The SUVmax correlated inversely with the ADCmin (r = −0.35, p<0.05). The ADCmin, ADCmean, serum thymidine kinase (TK), Beta 2-microglobulin (B2m), lactate dehydrogenase (LD), and C-reactive protein (CRP) correlated with both whole-body MTV and whole-body MTB (p<0.05 or 0.01). The SUVmax, TK, LD, and CRP were significantly higher in the DLBCL group than in the FL group. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed that they were reasonable predictors in differentiating DLBCL from FL.
The functional imaging markers determined from PET/CT and DWI are associated, and the SUVmax is superior to the ADCmin in differentiating DLBCL from FL. All the measured serum markers are associated with functional imaging markers. Serum LD, TK, and CRP are useful in differentiating DLBCL from FL.
PMCID: PMC3893149  PMID: 24454777
4.  Diffusion Tensor Imaging in NAWM and NADGM in MS and CIS: Association with Candidate Biomarkers in Sera 
The aim of this study was to evaluate diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) indices in the corpus callosum and pyramidal tract in normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) and the caudate nucleus and thalamus in deep grey matter (NADGM) in all MS subtypes and clinically isolated syndrome (CIS). Furthermore, it was determined whether these metrics are associated with clinical measures and the serum levels of candidate immune biomarkers. Apparent diffusion coefficients (ADC) values were significantly higher than in controls in all six studied NAWM regions in SPMS, 4/6 regions in RRMS and PPMS and 2/6 regions in CIS. In contrast, decreased fractional anisotropy (FA) values in comparison to controls were detected in 2/6 NAWM regions in SPMS and 1/6 in RRMS and PPMS. In RRMS, the level of neurological disability correlated with thalamic FA values (r = 0.479, P = 0.004). In chronic progressive subtypes and CIS, ADC values of NAWM and NADGM were associated with the levels of MIF, sFas, and sTNF-α. Our data indicate that DTI may be useful in detecting pathological changes in NAWM and NADGM in MS patients and that these changes are related to neurological disability.
PMCID: PMC3877634  PMID: 24455265
5.  Repeatability and variation of region-of-interest methods using quantitative diffusion tensor MR imaging of the brain 
BMC Medical Imaging  2012;12:30.
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is increasingly used in various diseases as a clinical tool for assessing the integrity of the brain’s white matter. Reduced fractional anisotropy (FA) and an increased apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) are nonspecific findings in most pathological processes affecting the brain’s parenchyma. At present, there is no gold standard for validating diffusion measures, which are dependent on the scanning protocols, methods of the softwares and observers. Therefore, the normal variation and repeatability effects on commonly-derived measures should be carefully examined.
Thirty healthy volunteers (mean age 37.8 years, SD 11.4) underwent DTI of the brain with 3T MRI. Region-of-interest (ROI) -based measurements were calculated at eleven anatomical locations in the pyramidal tracts, corpus callosum and frontobasal area. Two ROI-based methods, the circular method (CM) and the freehand method (FM), were compared. Both methods were also compared by performing measurements on a DTI phantom. The intra- and inter-observer variability (coefficient of variation, or CV%) and repeatability (intra-class correlation coefficient, or ICC) were assessed for FA and ADC values obtained using both ROI methods.
The mean FA values for all of the regions were 0.663 with the CM and 0.621 with the FM. For both methods, the FA was highest in the splenium of the corpus callosum. The mean ADC value was 0.727 ×10-3 mm2/s with the CM and 0.747 ×10-3 mm2/s with the FM, and both methods found the ADC to be lowest in the corona radiata. The CV percentages of the derived measures were < 13% with the CM and < 10% with the FM. In most of the regions, the ICCs were excellent or moderate for both methods. With the CM, the highest ICC for FA was in the posterior limb of the internal capsule (0.90), and with the FM, it was in the corona radiata (0.86). For ADC, the highest ICC was found in the genu of the corpus callosum (0.93) with the CM and in the uncinate fasciculus (0.92) with FM.
With both ROI-based methods variability was low and repeatability was moderate. The circular method gave higher repeatability, but variation was slightly lower using the freehand method. The circular method can be recommended for the posterior limb of the internal capsule and splenium of the corpus callosum, and the freehand method for the corona radiata.
PMCID: PMC3533516  PMID: 23057584
6.  Development of a Research Dedicated Archival System (TARAS) in a University Hospital 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2010;24(5):864-873.
Recent healthcare policies have influenced the manner in which patient data is handled in research projects, and the regulations concerning protected health information have become significantly tighter. Thus, new procedures are needed to facilitate research while protecting the confidentiality of patient data and ensuring the integrity of clinical work in the expanding environment of electronic files and databases. We have addressed this problem in a university hospital setting by developing the Tampere Research Archival System (TARAS), an extensive data warehouse for research purposes. This dynamic system includes numerous integrated and pseudonymized imaging studies and clinical data. In a pilot study on asthma patients, we tested and improved the functionality of the data archival system. TARAS is feasible to use in retrieving, analyzing, and processing both image and non-image data. In this paper, we present a detailed workflow of the implementation process of the data warehouse, paying special attention to administrative, ethical, practical, and data security concerns. The establishment of TARAS will enhance and accelerate research practice at Tampere University Hospital, while also improving the safety of patient information as well as the prospects for national and international research collaboration. We hope that much can be learned from our experience of planning, designing, and implementing a research data warehouse combining imaging studies and medical records in a university hospital.
PMCID: PMC3180537  PMID: 21042830
PACS; Research PACS; Hospital information systems; Research Archival System; TARAS; Medical research; Large scale; Pseudonymization
7.  Outcome from Complicated versus Uncomplicated Mild Traumatic Brain Injury 
Objective. To compare acute outcome following complicated versus uncomplicated mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) using neurocognitive and self-report measures. Method. Participants were 47 patients who presented to the emergency department of Tampere University Hospital, Finland. All completed MRI scanning, self-report measures, and neurocognitive testing at 3-4 weeks after injury. Participants were classified into the complicated MTBI or uncomplicated MTBI group based on the presence/absence of intracranial abnormality on day-of-injury CT scan or 3-4 week MRI scan. Results. There was a large statistically significant difference in time to return to work between groups. The patients with uncomplicated MTBIs had a median of 6.0 days (IQR = 0.75–14.75, range = 0–77) off work compared to a median of 36 days (IQR = 13.5–53, range = 3–315) for the complicated group. There were no significant differences between groups for any of the neurocognitive or self-report measures. There were no differences in the proportion of patients who (a) met criteria for ICD-10 postconcussional disorder or (b) had multiple low scores on the neurocognitive measures. Conclusion. Patients with complicated MTBIs took considerably longer to return to work. They did not perform more poorly on neurocognitive measures or report more symptoms, at 3-4 weeks after injury compared to patients with uncomplicated MTBIs.
PMCID: PMC3345249  PMID: 22577556
8.  CT Perfusion ASPECTS in the Evaluation of Acute Ischemic Stroke: Thrombolytic Therapy Perspective 
Background and Purpose
Advances in the management of acute ischemic stroke and medical imaging are creating pressure to replace the rigid one-third middle cerebral artery (MCA) and non-contrast-enhanced CT (NCCT) Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score (ASPECTS) thresholds used for the selection of patients eligible for intravenous thrombolytic therapy. The identification of potentially salvageable ischemic brain tissue lies at the core of this issue. In this study, the role of CT perfusion ASPECTS in the detection of reversible ischemia was analyzed.
Materials and Methods
We retrospectively reviewed the clinical and imaging data of 92 consecutive patients who received intravenous thrombolytic therapy for acute (duration <3 h) ischemic stroke. Most of the patients underwent admission multimodal CT, and all patients had follow-up NCCT at 24 h. ASPECTS was assigned to all modalities and correlated with clinical and imaging parameters. Receiver-operating characteristic curve analysis was performed to determine optimal thresholds for different parameters to predict clinical outcome.
A perfusion defect could be detected in 50% of the patients. ASPECTS correlated inversely with the clinical outcome in the following order: follow-up NCCT > cerebral blood volume (CBV) > mean transit time (MTT) > admission NCCT. The follow-up NCCT and the CBV displayed a statistically significant difference from the admission NCCT, while the MTT did not reach statistical significance. The threshold that best differentiated between good and bad clinical outcome on admission was CBV ASPECTS ≥7. In patients with CT perfusion ASPECTS mismatch, MTT and CBV ASPECTS essentially provided the lower and upper limits for the follow-up NCCT ASPECTS, thus defining the spectrum of possible outcomes. Furthermore, CT perfusion ASPECTS mismatch strongly correlated (r = 0.83) with the mismatch between the tissue at risk and the final infarct, i.e. the amount of salvaged tissue. This finding suggests that the CT perfusion ASPECTS mismatch adequately identifies the amount of potentially salvageable ischemic brain tissue.
Parameters derived from the use of CT perfusion ASPECTS can detect reversible ischemia and are correlated with clinical outcome.
PMCID: PMC3343752  PMID: 22566978
ASPECTS; Computed tomography; Perfusion; Stroke; Thrombolytic therapy
9.  Effect of slice thickness on brain magnetic resonance image texture analysis 
The accuracy of texture analysis in clinical evaluation of magnetic resonance images depends considerably on imaging arrangements and various image quality parameters. In this paper, we study the effect of slice thickness on brain tissue texture analysis using a statistical approach and classification of T1-weighted images of clinically confirmed multiple sclerosis patients.
We averaged the intensities of three consecutive 1-mm slices to simulate 3-mm slices. Two hundred sixty-four texture parameters were calculated for both the original and the averaged slices. Wilcoxon's signed ranks test was used to find differences between the regions of interest representing white matter and multiple sclerosis plaques. Linear and nonlinear discriminant analyses were applied with several separate training and test sets to determine the actual classification accuracy.
Only moderate differences in distributions of the texture parameter value for 1-mm and simulated 3-mm-thick slices were found. Our study also showed that white matter areas are well separable from multiple sclerosis plaques even if the slice thickness differs between training and test sets.
Three-millimeter-thick magnetic resonance image slices acquired with a 1.5 T clinical magnetic resonance scanner seem to be sufficient for texture analysis of multiple sclerosis plaques and white matter tissue.
PMCID: PMC2970603  PMID: 20955567
10.  Diffusion tensor imaging correlates with lesion volume in cerebral hemisphere infarctions 
BMC Medical Imaging  2010;10:21.
Both a large lesion volume and abnormalities in diffusion tensor imaging are independently associated with a poor prognosis after cerebral infarctions. Therefore, we assume that they are associated. This study assessed the associations between lesion volumes and diffusion tensor imaging in patients with a right-sided cerebral infarction.
The lesion volumes of 33 patients (age 65.9 ± 8.7, 26 males and 7 females) were imaged using computed tomography (CT) in the acute phase (within 3-4 hours) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the chronic phase (follow-up at 12 months, with a range of 8-27 months). The chronic-phase fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) values were measured at the site of the infarct and selected white matter tracts. Neurological tests in both the acute and chronic phases, and DTI lateralization were assessed with the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. The effects of thrombolytic therapy (n = 10) were assessed with the Mann-Whitney U test. The correlations between the measured parameters were analysed with Spearman's rho correlation. Bonferroni post-hoc correction was used to compensate for the familywise error rate in multiple comparisons.
Several MD values in the right hemisphere correlated positively and FA values negatively with the lesion volumes. These correlations included both lesion area and healthy tissue. The results of the mini-mental state examination and the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale also correlated with the lesion volume.
A larger infarct volume is associated with more pronounced tissue modifications in the chronic stage as observed with the MD and FA alterations.
PMCID: PMC2954947  PMID: 20849612
11.  Texture analysis of MR images of patients with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury 
BMC Medical Imaging  2010;10:8.
Our objective was to study the effect of trauma on texture features in cerebral tissue in mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). Our hypothesis was that a mild trauma may cause microstructural changes, which are not necessarily perceptible by visual inspection but could be detected with texture analysis (TA).
We imaged 42 MTBI patients by using 1.5 T MRI within three weeks of onset of trauma. TA was performed on the area of mesencephalon, cerebral white matter at the levels of mesencephalon, corona radiata and centrum semiovale and in different segments of corpus callosum (CC) which have been found to be sensitive to damage. The same procedure was carried out on a control group of ten healthy volunteers. Patients' TA data was compared with the TA results of the control group comparing the amount of statistically significantly differing TA parameters between the left and right sides of the cerebral tissue and comparing the most discriminative parameters.
There were statistically significant differences especially in several co-occurrence and run-length matrix based parameters between left and right side in the area of mesencephalon, in cerebral white matter at the level of corona radiata and in the segments of CC in patients. Considerably less difference was observed in the healthy controls.
TA revealed significant changes in texture parameters of cerebral tissue between hemispheres and CC segments in TBI patients. TA may serve as a novel additional tool for detecting the conventionally invisible changes in cerebral tissue in MTBI and help the clinicians to make an early diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3161385  PMID: 20462439
12.  Non-Hodgkin lymphoma response evaluation with MRI texture classification 
To show magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) texture appearance change in non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) during treatment with response controlled by quantitative volume analysis.
A total of 19 patients having NHL with an evaluable lymphoma lesion were scanned at three imaging timepoints with 1.5T device during clinical treatment evaluation. Texture characteristics of images were analyzed and classified with MaZda application and statistical tests.
NHL tissue MRI texture imaged before treatment and under chemotherapy was classified within several subgroups, showing best discrimination with 96% correct classification in non-linear discriminant analysis of T2-weighted images.
Texture parameters of MRI data were successfully tested with statistical tests to assess the impact of the separability of the parameters in evaluating chemotherapy response in lymphoma tissue.
Texture characteristics of MRI data were classified successfully; this proved texture analysis to be potential quantitative means of representing lymphoma tissue changes during chemotherapy response monitoring.
PMCID: PMC2711966  PMID: 19545438

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