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      The Effects of FreeSurfer Version, Workstation Type, and Macintosh Operating System Version on Anatomical Volume and Cortical Thickness Measurements

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          Abstract

          FreeSurfer is a popular software package to measure cortical thickness and volume of neuroanatomical structures. However, little if any is known about measurement reliability across various data processing conditions. Using a set of 30 anatomical T1-weighted 3T MRI scans, we investigated the effects of data processing variables such as FreeSurfer version (v4.3.1, v4.5.0, and v5.0.0), workstation (Macintosh and Hewlett-Packard), and Macintosh operating system version (OSX 10.5 and OSX 10.6). Significant differences were revealed between FreeSurfer version v5.0.0 and the two earlier versions. These differences were on average 8.8±6.6% (range 1.3–64.0%) (volume) and 2.8±1.3% (1.1–7.7%) (cortical thickness). About a factor two smaller differences were detected between Macintosh and Hewlett-Packard workstations and between OSX 10.5 and OSX 10.6. The observed differences are similar in magnitude as effect sizes reported in accuracy evaluations and neurodegenerative studies.

          The main conclusion is that in the context of an ongoing study, users are discouraged to update to a new major release of either FreeSurfer or operating system or to switch to a different type of workstation without repeating the analysis; results thus give a quantitative support to successive recommendations stated by FreeSurfer developers over the years. Moreover, in view of the large and significant cross-version differences, it is concluded that formal assessment of the accuracy of FreeSurfer is desirable.

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          Most cited references 34

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          An automated labeling system for subdividing the human cerebral cortex on MRI scans into gyral based regions of interest.

          In this study, we have assessed the validity and reliability of an automated labeling system that we have developed for subdividing the human cerebral cortex on magnetic resonance images into gyral based regions of interest (ROIs). Using a dataset of 40 MRI scans we manually identified 34 cortical ROIs in each of the individual hemispheres. This information was then encoded in the form of an atlas that was utilized to automatically label ROIs. To examine the validity, as well as the intra- and inter-rater reliability of the automated system, we used both intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC), and a new method known as mean distance maps, to assess the degree of mismatch between the manual and the automated sets of ROIs. When compared with the manual ROIs, the automated ROIs were highly accurate, with an average ICC of 0.835 across all of the ROIs, and a mean distance error of less than 1 mm. Intra- and inter-rater comparisons yielded little to no difference between the sets of ROIs. These findings suggest that the automated method we have developed for subdividing the human cerebral cortex into standard gyral-based neuroanatomical regions is both anatomically valid and reliable. This method may be useful for both morphometric and functional studies of the cerebral cortex as well as for clinical investigations aimed at tracking the evolution of disease-induced changes over time, including clinical trials in which MRI-based measures are used to examine response to treatment.
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            Cortical surface-based analysis. I. Segmentation and surface reconstruction.

            Several properties of the cerebral cortex, including its columnar and laminar organization, as well as the topographic organization of cortical areas, can only be properly understood in the context of the intrinsic two-dimensional structure of the cortical surface. In order to study such cortical properties in humans, it is necessary to obtain an accurate and explicit representation of the cortical surface in individual subjects. Here we describe a set of automated procedures for obtaining accurate reconstructions of the cortical surface, which have been applied to data from more than 100 subjects, requiring little or no manual intervention. Automated routines for unfolding and flattening the cortical surface are described in a companion paper. These procedures allow for the routine use of cortical surface-based analysis and visualization methods in functional brain imaging. Copyright 1999 Academic Press.
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              Intraclass correlations: uses in assessing rater reliability.

              Reliability coefficients often take the form of intraclass correlation coefficients. In this article, guidelines are given for choosing among six different forms of the intraclass correlation for reliability studies in which n target are rated by k judges. Relevant to the choice of the coefficient are the appropriate statistical model for the reliability and the application to be made of the reliability results. Confidence intervals for each of the forms are reviewed.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1932-6203
                2012
                1 June 2012
                : 7
                : 6
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, Alzheimer Center Limburg, The Netherlands
                [2 ]European Graduate School of Neuroscience (EURON), Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
                [3 ]Cognitive Neurology Section, Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine-3, Research Centre Jülich, Jülich, Germany
                [4 ]King's College London, King's Health Partners, Department of Psychosis Studies Institute of Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom
                Wake Forest School of Medicine, United States of America
                Author notes

                Conceived and designed the experiments: EHBMG PH HILJ JvO MM. Performed the experiments: EHBMG PH RM NR. Analyzed the data: EHBMG PH HILJ JvO MM. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: EHBMG HILJ RM NR. Wrote the paper: EHBMG PH HJ RM NR JvO MM.

                Article
                PONE-D-12-02390
                10.1371/journal.pone.0038234
                3365894
                22675527
                Gronenschild et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Counts
                Pages: 13
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