Accurate super-resolution low-field brain MRI

by   Juan Eugenio Iglesias, et al.

The recent introduction of portable, low-field MRI (LF-MRI) into the clinical setting has the potential to transform neuroimaging. However, LF-MRI is limited by lower resolution and signal-to-noise ratio, leading to incomplete characterization of brain regions. To address this challenge, recent advances in machine learning facilitate the synthesis of higher resolution images derived from one or multiple lower resolution scans. Here, we report the extension of a machine learning super-resolution (SR) algorithm to synthesize 1 mm isotropic MPRAGE-like scans from LF-MRI T1-weighted and T2-weighted sequences. Our initial results on a paired dataset of LF and high-field (HF, 1.5T-3T) clinical scans show that: (i) application of available automated segmentation tools directly to LF-MRI images falters; but (ii) segmentation tools succeed when applied to SR images with high correlation to gold standard measurements from HF-MRI (e.g., r = 0.85 for hippocampal volume, r = 0.84 for the thalamus, r = 0.92 for the whole cerebrum). This work demonstrates proof-of-principle post-processing image enhancement from lower resolution LF-MRI sequences. These results lay the foundation for future work to enhance the detection of normal and abnormal image findings at LF and ultimately improve the diagnostic performance of LF-MRI. Our tools are publicly available on FreeSurfer (


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