Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder associated with brain tissue loss. Accurate estimation of this loss is critical for the diagnosis, prognosis, and tracking the progression of AD. Structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI) and X-ray computed tomography (CT) are widely used imaging modalities that help to in vivo map brain tissue distributions. As manual image segmentations are tedious and time-consuming, automated segmentation methods are increasingly applied to head MRI and head CT images to estimate brain tissue volumes. However, existing automated methods can be applied only to images that have high spatial resolution and their accuracy on heterogeneous low-quality clinical images has not been tested. Further, automated brain tissue segmentation methods for CT are not available, although CT is more widely acquired than MRI in the clinical setting. For these reasons, large clinical imaging archives are unusable for research studies. In this work, we identify and develop automated tissue segmentation and brain volumetry methods that can be applied to clinical quality MRI and CT images. In the first project, we surveyed the current MRI methods and validated the accuracy of these methods when applied to clinical quality images. We then developed CTSeg, a tissue segmentation method for CT images, by adopting the MRI technique that exhibited the highest reliability. CTSeg is an atlas-based statistical modeling method that relies on hand-curated features and cannot be applied to images of subjects with different diseases and age groups. Advanced deep learning-based segmentation methods use hierarchical representations and learn complex features in a data-driven manner. In our final project, we develop a fully automated deep learning segmentation method that uses contextual information to segment clinical quality head CT images. The application of this method on an AD dataset revealed larger differences between brain volumes of AD and control subjects. This dissertation demonstrates the potential of applying automated methods to large clinical imaging archives to answer research questions in a variety of studies.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Alzheimer's disease--Imaging; Brain--Imaging--Data processing; Diagnostic imaging--Digital techniques; Image analysis--Mathematics

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Imaging Science (Ph.D.)

Department, Program, or Center

Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)


Andrew Michael

Advisor/Committee Member

Stefi Baum

Advisor/Committee Member

Maria Helguera


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes