The use of deep learning approaches for image reconstruction is of contemporary interest in radiology, especially for approaches that solve inverse problems associated with imaging. In deployment, these models may be exposed to input distributions that are widely shifted from training data, due in part to data biases or drifts. We propose a metric based on local Lipschitz determined from a single trained model that can be used to estimate the model uncertainty for image reconstructions. We demonstrate a monotonic relationship between the local Lipschitz value and Mean Absolute Error and show that this method can be used to provide a threshold that determines whether a given DL reconstruction approach was well suited to the task. Our uncertainty estimation method can be used to identify out-of-distribution test samples, relate information regarding epistemic uncertainties, and guide proper data augmentation. Quantifying uncertainty of learned reconstruction approaches is especially pertinent to the medical domain where reconstructed images must remain diagnostically accurate.
Low-field (LF) MRI scanners have the power to revolutionize medical imaging by providing a portable and cheaper alternative to high-field MRI scanners. However, such scanners are usually significantly noisier and lower quality than their high-field counterparts. The aim of this paper is to improve the SNR and overall image quality of low-field MRI scans to improve diagnostic capability. To address this issue, we propose a Nested U-Net neural network architecture super-resolution algorithm that outperforms previously suggested deep learning methods with an average PSNR of 78.83 and SSIM of 0.9551. We tested our network on artificial noisy downsampled synthetic data from a major T1 weighted MRI image dataset called the T1-mix dataset. One board-certified radiologist scored 25 images on the Likert scale (1-5) assessing overall image quality, anatomical structure, and diagnostic confidence across our architecture and other published works (SR DenseNet, Generator Block, SRCNN, etc.). We also introduce a new type of loss function called natural log mean squared error (NLMSE). In conclusion, we present a more accurate deep learning method for single image super-resolution applied to synthetic low-field MRI via a Nested U-Net architecture.
MRI-guidance techniques that dynamically adapt radiation beams to follow tumor motion in real-time will lead to more accurate cancer treatments and reduced collateral healthy tissue damage. The gold-standard for reconstruction of undersampled MR data is compressed sensing (CS) which is computationally slow and limits the rate that images can be available for real-time adaptation. Here, we demonstrate the use of automated transform by manifold approximation (AUTOMAP), a generalized framework that maps raw MR signal to the target image domain, to rapidly reconstruct images from undersampled radial k-space data. The AUTOMAP neural network was trained to reconstruct images from a golden-angle radial acquisition, a benchmark for motion-sensitive imaging, on lung cancer patient data and generic images from ImageNet. Model training was subsequently augmented with motion-encoded k-space data derived from videos in the YouTube-8M dataset to encourage motion robust reconstruction. We find that AUTOMAP-reconstructed radial k-space has equivalent accuracy to CS but with much shorter processing times after initial fine-tuning on retrospectively acquired lung cancer patient data. Validation of motion-trained models with a virtual dynamic lung tumor phantom showed that the generalized motion properties learned from YouTube lead to improved target tracking accuracy. Our work shows that AUTOMAP can achieve real-time, accurate reconstruction of radial data. These findings imply that neural-network-based reconstruction is potentially superior to existing approaches for real-time image guidance applications.
The recent introduction of portable, low-field MRI (LF-MRI) into the clinical setting has the potential to transform neuroimaging. However, LF-MRI is limited by lower resolution and signal-to-noise ratio, leading to incomplete characterization of brain regions. To address this challenge, recent advances in machine learning facilitate the synthesis of higher resolution images derived from one or multiple lower resolution scans. Here, we report the extension of a machine learning super-resolution (SR) algorithm to synthesize 1 mm isotropic MPRAGE-like scans from LF-MRI T1-weighted and T2-weighted sequences. Our initial results on a paired dataset of LF and high-field (HF, 1.5T-3T) clinical scans show that: (i) application of available automated segmentation tools directly to LF-MRI images falters; but (ii) segmentation tools succeed when applied to SR images with high correlation to gold standard measurements from HF-MRI (e.g., r = 0.85 for hippocampal volume, r = 0.84 for the thalamus, r = 0.92 for the whole cerebrum). This work demonstrates proof-of-principle post-processing image enhancement from lower resolution LF-MRI sequences. These results lay the foundation for future work to enhance the detection of normal and abnormal image findings at LF and ultimately improve the diagnostic performance of LF-MRI. Our tools are publicly available on FreeSurfer (surfer.nmr.mgh.harvard.edu/).
PURPOSE: Demonstrate a novel fast method for reconstruction of multi-dimensional MR Fingerprinting (MRF) data using Deep Learning methods. METHODS: A neural network (NN) is defined using the TensorFlow framework and trained on simulated MRF data computed using the Bloch equations. The accuracy of the NN reconstruction of noisy data is compared to conventional MRF template matching as a function of training data size, and quantified in a both simulated numerical brain phantom data and acquired data from the ISMRM/NIST phantom. The utility of the method is demonstrated in a healthy subject in vivo at 1.5 T. RESULTS: Network training required 10 minutes and once trained, data reconstruction required approximately 10 ms. Reconstruction of simulated brain data using the NN resulted in a root-mean-square error (RMSE) of 3.5 ms for T1 and 7.8 ms for T2. The RMSE for the NN trained on sparse dictionaries was approximately 6 fold lower for T1 and 2 fold lower for T2 than conventional MRF dot-product dictionary matching on the same dictionaries. Phantom measurements yielded good agreement (R2=0.99) between the T1 and T2 estimated by the NN and reference values from the ISMRM/NIST phantom. CONCLUSION: Reconstruction of MRF data with a NN is accurate, 300 fold faster and more robust to noise and undersampling than conventional MRF dictionary matching.
Image reconstruction plays a critical role in the implementation of all contemporary imaging modalities across the physical and life sciences including optical, MRI, CT, PET, and radio astronomy. During an image acquisition, the sensor encodes an intermediate representation of an object in the sensor domain, which is subsequently reconstructed into an image by an inversion of the encoding function. Image reconstruction is challenging because analytic knowledge of the inverse transform may not exist a priori, especially in the presence of sensor non-idealities and noise. Thus, the standard reconstruction approach involves approximating the inverse function with multiple ad hoc stages in a signal processing chain whose composition depends on the details of each acquisition strategy, and often requires expert parameter tuning to optimize reconstruction performance. We present here a unified framework for image reconstruction, AUtomated TransfOrm by Manifold APproximation (AUTOMAP), which recasts image reconstruction as a data-driven, supervised learning task that allows a mapping between sensor and image domain to emerge from an appropriate corpus of training data. We implement AUTOMAP with a deep neural network and exhibit its flexibility in learning reconstruction transforms for a variety of MRI acquisition strategies, using the same network architecture and hyperparameters. We further demonstrate its efficiency in sparsely representing transforms along low-dimensional manifolds, resulting in superior immunity to noise and reconstruction artifacts compared with conventional handcrafted reconstruction methods. In addition to improving the reconstruction performance of existing acquisition methodologies, we anticipate accelerating the discovery of new acquisition strategies across modalities as the burden of reconstruction becomes lifted by AUTOMAP and learned-reconstruction approaches.