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Image computing tools for the investigation of the neurological effects of preterm birth and corticosteroid administration

Ferraris, Sebastiano; (2019) Image computing tools for the investigation of the neurological effects of preterm birth and corticosteroid administration. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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In this thesis we present a range of computational tools for medical imaging purposes within two main research projects. The first one is a methodological project oriented towards the improvement of the performance of a numerical computation utilised in diffeomorphic image registration. The second research project is a pre-clinical study aimed at the investigation of the effects of antenatal corticosteroids in a preterm rabbit animal model. In the first part we addressed the problem of integrating stationary velocity fields. This mathematical challenge had originated with early studies in fluid dynamics and had been subsequently mathematically formalised in the Lie group theory. Given a tangent velocity field defined in the tridimensional space as in input, the goal is to compute the position of the particles to which the velocity field is applied. This computation, also called numerical Lie exponential, is a fundamental component of several medical image registration algorithm based on diffeomorphisms, i.e. bijective differentiable maps with differentiable inverse. It is as well a widely utilised tool in computational anatomy to quantify the differences between two anatomical shapes measuring the parameters of the transformation that belongs to a metric vector space. The resulting new class of algorithms introduced in this thesis was created combining the known scaling and squaring algorithm with a class of numerical integrators aimed to solve systems of ordinary differential equations called exponential integrators. The introduced scaling and squaring based approximated exponential integrator algorithm have improved the computational time and accuracy respect to the state- of-the-art methods. The second part of the research is a pre-clinical trial carried forward in collab- oration with the Department of Development and Regeneration, Woman and Child Cluster at the KU Leuven University. The clinical research question is related to the understanding of the possible negative effects of administering antenatal cor- ticosteroids for preterm birth. To tackle this problem we designed and started a pre-clinical study using a New Zealand perinatal rabbit model. In this part of the research I was involved in the research team to provide the tools to automatise the data analysis and to eliminate the time consuming and non reproducible manual segmentation step. The main result of this collaboration is the creation of the first multi-modal multi-atlas for the newborn rabbit brain. This is embedded in a segmentation propagation and label fusion algorithm at the core of the proposed open-sourced automatic pipeline, having as input the native scanner format and as output the main MRI readouts, such as volume, fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Image computing tools for the investigation of the neurological effects of preterm birth and corticosteroid administration
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10072833
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