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Abstract #3662

Improving spatial normalization of functional MRI data of the spinal cord using cerebrospinal fluid segmentation

Benjamin De Leener1,2, Linda Soltrand Dahlberg2, Ali Khatibi2,3, Nawal Kinany2,4, and Julien Doyon2
1Department of computer engineering and software engineering, Polytechnique Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada, 2Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada, 3Center of Precision Rehabilitation for Spinal Pain (CPR Spine), University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom, 4Center for Neuroprosthetics, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland

Analyzing functional MRI of the spinal cord is challenging due to large susceptibility artifacts and inter-subject variability in terms of shape and curvature. More particularly, the poor contrast between the spinal cord and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leads to co-registration errors when analyzing the spinal cord functional activity at the group level. This study proposes a new registration framework that leverages the contrast between the CSF and its surrounding structure. Results show an increase of 67% in the number of active voxels at the group level, with an increase of 5% and 23% for the mean and max z-score, respectively.

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