Normalizing all images in a large data set into a common space is a key step in many clinical and research studies, e.g., for brain development, maturation, and aging. Recently, groupwise registration has been developed for simultaneous alignment of all images without selecting a particular image as template, thus potentially avoiding bias in the registration. However, most conventional groupwise registration methods do not explore the data distribution during the image registration. Thus, their performance could be affected by large inter-subject variations in the data set under registration. To solve this potential issue, we propose to use a graph to model the distribution of all image data sitting on the image manifold, with each node representing an image and each edge representing the geodesic pathway between two nodes (or images). Then, the procedure of warping all images to their population center turns to the dynamic shrinking of the graph nodes along their graph edges until all graph nodes become close to each other. Thus, the topology of image distribution on the image manifold is always preserved during the groupwise registration. More importantly, by modeling the distribution of all images via a graph, we can potentially reduce registration error since every time each image is warped only according to its nearby images with similar structures in the graph. We have evaluated our proposed groupwise registration method on both infant and adult data sets, by also comparing with the conventional group-mean based registration and the ABSORB methods. All experimental results show that our proposed method can achieve better performance in terms of registration accuracy and robustness.
- Graph shrinking
- Image manifold
- Unbiased groupwise registration
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience