University of Oulu

Z. Rajna, L. Raitamaa, T. Tuovinen, J. Heikkilä, V. Kiviniemi and T. Seppänen, "3D Multi-Resolution Optical Flow Analysis of Cardiovascular Pulse Propagation in Human Brain," in IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging, vol. 38, no. 9, pp. 2028-2036, Sept. 2019. doi: 10.1109/TMI.2019.2904762

3D multi-resolution optical flow analysis of cardiovascular pulse propagation in human brain

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Author: Rajna, Zalán1; Raitamaa, Lauri2; Tuovinen, Timo2;
Organizations: 1Center for Machine Vision and Signal Analysis, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
2Oulu Functional Neuroimaging Group, MRC/MIPT, Oulu University Hospital, 90029 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-09-06


The brain is cleaned from waste by glymphatic clearance serving a similar purpose as the lymphatic system in the rest of the body. Impairment of the glymphatic brain clearance precedes protein accumulation and reduced cognitive function in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Cardiovascular pulsations are a primary driving force of the glymphatic brain clearance. We developed a method to quantify cardiovascular pulse propagation in the human brain with magnetic resonance encephalography (MREG). We extended a standard optical flow estimation method to three spatial dimensions, with a multi-resolution processing scheme. We added application-specific criteria for discarding inaccurate results. With the proposed method, it is now possible to estimate the propagation of cardiovascular pulse wavefronts from the whole brain MREG data sampled at 10 Hz. The results show that on average the cardiovascular pulse propagates from major arteries via cerebral spinal fluid spaces into all tissue compartments in the brain. We present an example, that cardiovascular pulsations are significantly altered in AD: coefficient of variation and sample entropy of the pulse propagation speed in the lateral ventricles change in AD. These changes are in line with the theory of glymphatic clearance impairment in AD. The proposed non-invasive method can assess a performance indicator related to the glymphatic clearance in the human brain.

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Series: IEEE transactions on medical imaging
ISSN: 0278-0062
ISSN-E: 1558-254X
ISSN-L: 0278-0062
Volume: 38
Issue: 9
Pages: 2028 - 2036
DOI: 10.1109/TMI.2019.2904762
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 217 Medical engineering
Funding: This work was supported in part by the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation Grant, in part by the Academy of Finland under Terva-Grant 314497, and in part by the Medical Research Center Oulu Grants.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 314497
Detailed Information: 314497 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
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