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BRAHMA: Population specific T1, T2, and FLAIR weighted brain templates and their impact in structural and functional imaging studies

Source: NeuroImage 2020 Jul;10(1):10..
Author: Praful P.Pai, Pravat K.Mandal, Khushboo Punjabi, Deepika Shukla, Anshika Goel

Differences in brain morphology across population groups necessitate creation of population-specific Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) brain templates for interpretation of neuroimaging data. Variations in the neuroanatomy in a genetically heterogeneous population make the development of a population-specific brain template for the Indian subcontinent imperative. A dataset of high-resolution 3D T1, T2-weighted, and FLAIR images acquired from a group of 113 volunteers (M/F - 56/57, mean age-28.96?±?7.80?years) are used to construct T1, T2-weighted, and FLAIR templates, collectively referred to as Indian Brain Template, “BRAHMA”. A processing pipeline is developed and implemented in a MATLAB based toolbox for template construction and generation of tissue probability maps and segmentation atlases, with additional labels for deep brain regions such as the Substantia Nigra generated from the T2-weighted and FLAIR templates. The use of BRAHMA template for analysis of structural and functional neuroimaging data obtained from Indian participants, provides improved accuracy with statistically significant results over that obtained using the ICBM-152 (International Consortium for Brain Mapping) template. Our results indicate that segmentations generated on structural images are closer in volume to those obtained from registration to the BRAHMA template than to the ICBM-152. Furthermore, functional MRI data obtained for Working Memory and Finger Tapping paradigms processed using the BRAHMA template show a significantly higher percentage of the activation area than ICBM-152 in relevant brain regions, i.e. the left middle frontal gyrus, and the left and right precentral gyri, respectively. The availability of different image contrasts, tissue maps, and segmentation atlases makes the BRAHMA template a comprehensive tool for multi-modal image analysis in laboratory and clinical settings