A neuroimaging web services interface as a cyber physical system for medical imaging and data management in brain research: Design study

Gabriel Lizarraga, Chunfei Li, Mercedes Cabrerizo, Warren Barker, David A. Loewenstein, Ranjan Duara, Malek Adjouadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Structural and functional brain images are essential imaging modalities for medical experts to study brain anatomy. These images are typically visually inspected by experts. To analyze images without any bias, they must be first converted to numeric values. Many software packages are available to process the images, but they are complex and difficult to use. The software packages are also hardware intensive. The results obtained after processing vary depending on the native operating system used and its associated software libraries; data processed in one system cannot typically be combined with data on another system. Objective: The aim of this study was to fulfill the neuroimaging community's need for a common platform to store, process, explore, and visualize their neuroimaging data and results using Neuroimaging Web Services Interface: a series of processing pipelines designed as a cyber physical system for neuroimaging and clinical data in brain research. Methods: Neuroimaging Web Services Interface accepts magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, diffusion tensor imaging, and functional magnetic resonance imaging. These images are processed using existing and custom software packages. The output is then stored as image files, tabulated files, and MySQL tables. The system, made up of a series of interconnected servers, is password-protected and is securely accessible through a Web interface and allows (1) visualization of results and (2) downloading of tabulated data. Results: All results were obtained using our processing servers in order to maintain data validity and consistency. The design is responsive and scalable. The processing pipeline started from a FreeSurfer reconstruction of Structural magnetic resonance imaging images. The FreeSurfer and regional standardized uptake value ratio calculations were validated using Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative input images, and the results were posted at the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging data archive. Notable leading researchers in the field of Alzheimer's Disease and epilepsy have used the interface to access and process the data and visualize the results. Tabulated results with unique visualization mechanisms help guide more informed diagnosis and expert rating, providing a truly unique multimodal imaging platform that combines magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, diffusion tensor imaging, and resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging. A quality control component was reinforced through expert visual rating involving at least 2 experts. Conclusions: To our knowledge, there is no validated Web-based system offering all the services that Neuroimaging Web Services Interface offers. The intent of Neuroimaging Web Services Interface is to create a tool for clinicians and researchers with keen interest on multimodal neuroimaging. More importantly, Neuroimaging Web Services Interface significantly augments the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative data, especially since our data contain a large cohort of Hispanic normal controls and Alzheimer's Disease patients. The obtained results could be scrutinized visually or through the tabulated forms, informing researchers on subtle changes that characterize the different stages of the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere26
JournalJMIR Medical Informatics
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Keywords

  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Image processing
  • Information storage
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Multimodal imaging
  • Neuroimaging
  • Positron-emission tomography
  • Retrieval

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management

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