Individualized current-flow models are needed for precise targeting of brain structures using transcranial electrical or magnetic stimulation (TES/TMS). The same is true for current-source reconstruction in electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography (EEG/MEG). The first step in generating such models is to obtain an accurate segmentation of individual head anatomy, including not only brain but also cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), skull and soft tissues, with a field of view (FOV) that covers the whole head. Currently available automated segmentation tools only provide results for brain tissues, have a limited FOV, and do not guarantee continuity and smoothness of tissues, which is crucially important for accurate current-flow estimates. Here we present a tool that addresses these needs. It is based on a rigorous Bayesian inference framework that combines image intensity model, anatomical prior (atlas) and morphological constraints using Markov random fields (MRF). The method is evaluated on 20 simulated and 8 real head volumes acquired with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 1 mm3 resolution. We find improved surface smoothness and continuity as compared to the segmentation algorithms currently implemented in Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM). With this tool, accurate and morphologically correct modeling of the whole-head anatomy for individual subjects may now be feasible on a routine basis. Code and data are fully integrated into SPM software tool and are made publicly available. In addition, a review on the MRI segmentation using atlas and the MRF over the last 20 years is also provided, with the general mathematical framework clearly derived.
Huang, Y. & Parra, L. C. (2015). Fully Automated Whole-Head Segmentation with Improved Smoothness and Continuity, with Theory Reviewed. PLoS ONE, 10(5), e0125477. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0125477.