Sulcal depth that is one of the quantitative measures of cerebral cortex has been widely used as an important marker for brain morphological studies. Several studies have employed Euclidean (EUD) or geodesic (GED) algorithms to measure sulcal depth, which have limitations that ignore sulcal geometry in highly convoluted regions and result in under or overestimated depth. In this study, we proposed an automated measurement for sulcal depth on cortical surface reflecting geometrical properties of sulci, which named the adaptive distance transform (ADT). We first defined the volume region of cerebrospinal fluid between the 3D convex hull and the cortical surface, and constructed local coordinates for that restricted region. Dijkstra's algorithm was then used to compute the shortest paths from the convex hull to the vertices of the cortical surface based on the local coordinates, which may be the most proper approach for defining sulcal depth. We applied our algorithm to both a clinical dataset including patients with mild Alzheimer's disease (AD) and 25 normal controls and a simulated dataset whose shape was similar to a single sulcus. The mean sulcal depth in the mild AD group was significantly lower than controls (p = 0.007, normal [mean±SD]: 7.29±0.23 mm, AD: 7.11±0.29) and the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was relatively high, showing the value of 0.818. Results from clinical dataset that were consistent with former studies using EUD or GED demonstrated that ADT was sensitive to cortical atrophy. The robustness against inter-individual variability of ADT was highlighted through simulation dataset. ADT showed a low and constant normalized difference between the depth of the simulated data and the calculated depth, whereas EUD and GED had high and variable differences. We suggest that ADT is more robust than EUD or GED and might be a useful alternative algorithm for measuring sulcal depth. © 2013 Yun et al.
Yun, H. J., Im, K., Yang, J. J., Yoon, U., & Lee, J. M. (2013). Automated Sulcal Depth Measurement on Cortical Surface Reflecting Geometrical Properties of Sulci. PLoS ONE, 8(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0055977