We present a technique for automatically assigning a neuroanatomical label to each voxel in an MRI volume based on probabilistic information automatically estimated from a manually labeled training set. In contrast to existing segmentation procedures that only label a small number of tissue classes, the current method assigns one of 37 labels to each voxel, including left and right caudate, putamen, pallidum, thalamus, lateral ventricles, hippocampus, and amygdala. The classification technique employs a registration procedure that is robust to anatomical variability, including the ventricular enlargement typically associated with neurological diseases and aging. The technique is shown to be comparable in accuracy to manual labeling, and of sufficient sensitivity to robustly detect changes in the volume of noncortical structures that presage the onset of probable Alzheimer's disease.
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