Harmonization of large multi-site imaging datasets: Application to 10,232 MRIs for the analysis of imaging patterns of structural brain change throughout the lifespan
Lenore J Launer,
Colin L. Masters,
Ilya M. Nasrallah,
Sterling C. Johnson,
Theodore D Satterthwaite,
Daniel H Wolf,
Marilyn S. Albert,
Susan M Resnick,
R. Nick Bryan,
David A. Wolk,
Russell T Shinohara,
Posted 26 Sep 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/784363
Posted 26 Sep 2019
As medical imaging enters its information era and presents rapidly increasing needs for big data analytics, robust pooling and harmonization of imaging data across diverse cohorts with varying acquisition protocols have become critical. We describe a comprehensive effort that merges and harmonizes a large-scale dataset of 10,232 structural brain MRI scans from participants without known neuropsychiatric disorder from 18 different studies that represent geographic diversity. We use this dataset and multi-atlas-based image processing methods to obtain a hierarchical partition of the brain from larger anatomical regions to individual cortical and deep structures and derive normative age trends of brain structure through the lifespan (3 to 96 years old). Critically, we present and validate a methodology for harmonizing this pooled dataset in the presence of nonlinear age trends. We provide a web-based visualization interface to generate and present the resulting age trends, enabling future studies of brain structure to compare their data with this normative reference of brain development and aging, and to examine deviations from normative ranges, potentially related to disease.
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