Arthur W. Toga, Paul M. Thompson and Bradley A. Payne
Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, Department of Neurology, Division of Brain Mapping, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90095
The anatomic and cellular organization of the fetal brain have been well characterized for several species at different developmental stages, on the basis of both clinical scanning and post mortem histologic studies. Modeling morphometric changes during brain development provides a means for quantitating and visualizing the rate and extent of the complex growth processes taking place throughout the system. As with any spatial measurement, the geometry of the system being analyzed must be clearly defined in order to understand its shape. Three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction techniques for representing the internal and external geometry of the brain provide an excellent resource for modeling the dynamic changes in the cellular architecture during development. Manipulation of the morphometric models with image warping techniques provides a mathematical representation of the changes observed in a developing biological system.
Modeling the changes that occur in the brain during development requires both biological and mathematical considerations. This chapter reviews some of the biologically-based models of development, and proposes the use of geometrically-based digital models to illustrate and simulate these changes. The use of image warping methods to relate one anatomic image to the next in a sequence will be highly relevant in modeling the way in which the geometry of the developing brain changes. By combining these warping strategies with an inventory of atlases from several developmental stages, intermediate atlases may be created for a comprehensive description of the developing brain.
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