Fast qualitY conTrol meThod foR derIved diffUsion Metrics (YTTRIUM) in big data analysis: UK Biobank 18608 example
Deriving reliable information about the structural and functional architecture of the brain in vivo is critical for the clinical and basic neurosciences. In the new era of large population-based datasets, when multiple brain imaging modalities and contrasts are combined in order to reveal latent brain structural patterns and associations with genetic, demographic and clinical information, automated and stringent quality control (QC) procedures are important. Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) is a fertile imaging technique for probing and visualising brain tissue microstructure in vivo, and has been included in most standard imaging protocols in large-scale studies. Due to its sensitivity to subject motion and technical artefacts, automated QC procedures prior to statistical analyses of dMRI data are required to minimise the influence of noise and artefacts. Here, we introduce Fast qualitY conTrol meThod foR derIved diffUsion Metrics (YTTRIUM), a computationally efficient QC method utilising structural similarity to evaluate image quality and mean diffusion metrics. As an example, we applied YTTRIUM in the context of tract-based spatial statistics to assess associations between age and kurtosis imaging and white matter tract integrity in UK Biobank data (n = 18,608). In order to assess the influence of outliers on results obtained using machine learning approaches, we tested the effects of applying YTTRIUM on brain age prediction. We demonstrated that the proposed QC pipeline represents an efficient approach for identifying poor quality datasets and artifacts and increase the accuracy of machine learning based brain age prediction.
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