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Automated separation of gray and white matter from MR images of the human brain.

Schnack HG, Hulshoff Pol HE , Baaré WF, Staal WG, Viergever MA, Kahn RS


A simple automatic procedure for segmentation of gray and white matter in high resolution 1.5T T1-weighted MR human brain images was developed and validated. The algorithm is based on histogram shape analysis of MR images that were corrected for scanner nonuniformity. Calibration and validation was done on a set of 80 MR images of human brains. The automatic method's values for the gray and white matter volumes were compared with the values from thresholds set twice by the best three of six raters. The automatic procedure was shown to perform as good as the best rater, where the average result of the best three raters was taken as reference. The method was also compared with two other histogram-based threshold methods, which yielded comparable results. The conclusion of the study thus is that automated threshold based methods can separate gray and white matter from MR brain images as reliably as human raters using a thresholding procedure.

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