Presenter Information

Andrea Sajewski, Duquesne University Biomedical Engineering Program, Duquesne University Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

Stacey Levine, Duquesne University Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

Abstract

Iron overload, a complication of repeated blood transfusions, can cause tissue damage and organ failure. The body has no regulatory mechanism to excrete excess iron, so iron overload must be closely monitored to guide therapy and measure treatment response. The concentration of iron in the liver is a reliable marker for total body iron content and is now measured noninvasively with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI produces a diagnostic image by measuring the signals emitted from the body in the presence of a constant magnetic field and radiofrequency pulses. At each pixel, the signal decay constant, T2*, can be calculated, providing insight about the structure of each tissue. Liver iron content can be quantified based on this T2* value because signal decay accelerates with increasing iron concentration. We developed a method to automatically segment the liver from the MRI image to accurately calculate iron content. Our current algorithm utilizes the active contour model for image segmentation, which iteratively evolves a curve until it reaches an edge or a boundary. We applied this algorithm to each MRI image in addition to a map of pixelwise T2* values, combining basic image processing with imaging physics. One of the limitations of this segmentation model is how it handles noise in the MRI data. Recent advancements in deep learning have enabled researchers to utilize convolutional neural networks to denoise and reconstruct images. We used the Trainable Nonlinear Reaction Diffusion network architecture to denoise the MRI images, allowing for smoother segmentation while preserving fine details.

School

McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Advisor

Stacey Levine

Submission Type

Paper

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Quantifying Iron Overload using MRI, Active Contours, and Convolutional Neural Networks

Iron overload, a complication of repeated blood transfusions, can cause tissue damage and organ failure. The body has no regulatory mechanism to excrete excess iron, so iron overload must be closely monitored to guide therapy and measure treatment response. The concentration of iron in the liver is a reliable marker for total body iron content and is now measured noninvasively with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI produces a diagnostic image by measuring the signals emitted from the body in the presence of a constant magnetic field and radiofrequency pulses. At each pixel, the signal decay constant, T2*, can be calculated, providing insight about the structure of each tissue. Liver iron content can be quantified based on this T2* value because signal decay accelerates with increasing iron concentration. We developed a method to automatically segment the liver from the MRI image to accurately calculate iron content. Our current algorithm utilizes the active contour model for image segmentation, which iteratively evolves a curve until it reaches an edge or a boundary. We applied this algorithm to each MRI image in addition to a map of pixelwise T2* values, combining basic image processing with imaging physics. One of the limitations of this segmentation model is how it handles noise in the MRI data. Recent advancements in deep learning have enabled researchers to utilize convolutional neural networks to denoise and reconstruct images. We used the Trainable Nonlinear Reaction Diffusion network architecture to denoise the MRI images, allowing for smoother segmentation while preserving fine details.

 

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