Tractostorm: The what, why, and how of tractography dissection reproducibility: Human Brain Mapping

F. Rheault, A. De Benedictis, A. Daducci, C. Maffei, C.M.W. Tax, D. Romascano, E. Caverzasi, F.C. Morency, F. Corrivetti, F. Pestilli, G. Girard, G. Theaud, I. Zemmoura, J. Hau, K. Glavin, K.M. Jordan, K. Pomiecko, M. Chamberland, M. Barakovic, N. GoyetteP. Poulin, Q. Chenot, S.S. Panesar, S. Sarubbo, L. Petit, M. Descoteaux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Investigative studies of white matter (WM) brain structures using diffusion MRI (dMRI) tractography frequently require manual WM bundle segmentation, often called “virtual dissection.” Human errors and personal decisions make these manual segmentations hard to reproduce, which have not yet been quantified by the dMRI community. It is our opinion that if the field of dMRI tractography wants to be taken seriously as a widespread clinical tool, it is imperative to harmonize WM bundle segmentations and develop protocols aimed to be used in clinical settings. The EADC-ADNI Harmonized Hippocampal Protocol achieved such standardization through a series of steps that must be reproduced for every WM bundle. This article is an observation of the problematic. A specific bundle segmentation protocol was used in order to provide a real-life example, but the contribution of this article is to discuss the need for reproducibility and standardized protocol, as for any measurement tool. This study required the participation of 11 experts and 13 nonexperts in neuroanatomy and “virtual dissection” across various laboratories and hospitals. Intra-rater agreement (Dice score) was approximately 0.77, while inter-rater was approximately 0.65. The protocol provided to participants was not necessarily optimal, but its design mimics, in essence, what will be required in future protocols. Reporting tractometry results such as average fractional anisotropy, volume or streamline count of a particular bundle without a sufficient reproducibility score could make the analysis and interpretations more difficult. Coordinated efforts by the diffusion MRI tractography community are needed to quantify and account for reproducibility of WM bundle extraction protocols in this era of open and collaborative science. © 2020 The Authors. Human Brain Mapping published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1859-1874
Number of pages16
JournalHum. Brain Mapp.
Volume41
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • bundle segmentation
  • diffusion MRI
  • inter-rater
  • intra-rater
  • reproducibility
  • tractography
  • white matter
  • adult
  • article
  • diffusion weighted imaging
  • dissection
  • extraction
  • fractional anisotropy
  • human
  • intrarater reliability
  • neuroanatomy

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