SPANOL (SPectral ANalysis Of Lobes): A spectral clustering framework for individual and group parcellation of cortical surfaces in lobes
. 2017-10-15; :
Understanding the link between structure, function and development in the brain is a key topic in neuroimaging that benefits from the tremendous progress of multi-modal MRI and its computational analysis. It implies, inter alia, to be able to parcellate the brain volume or cortical surface into biologically relevant regions. These parcellations may be inferred from existing atlases (e.g. Desikan) or sets of rules, as would do a neuroanatomist for lobes, but also directly driven from the data (e.g. functional or structural connectivity) with minimum a priori. In the present work, we aimed at using the intrinsic geometric information contained in the eigenfunctions of Laplace-Beltrami Operator to obtain parcellations of the cortical surface based only on its description by triangular meshes. We proposed a framework adapted from spectral clustering, general in scope and suitable for the co-parcellation of a group of subjects. We applied it to a dataset of 62 adults, optimized it and revealed a striking agreement between parcels produced by this unsupervised clustering and Freesurfer lobes (Desikan atlas), which cannot be explained by chance. Already suitable by itself, this spectral analysis of lobes (Spanol) could conveniently be fitted into a multimodal pipeline for optimized and fast lobar segmentation. Eventually, we showed promising results of Spanol on smoother brains and notably on a dataset of 15 fetuses, with an interest for both the understanding of cortical ontogeny and the applicative field of perinatal computational neuroanatomy.