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Neuroimaging data, such as 3D maps of cortical thickness or neural activation, can often be analyzed more informatively with respect to the cortical surface rather than the entire volume of the brain. Any cortical surface-based analysis should be carried out using computations in the intrinsic geometry of the surface rather than using the metric of the ambient 3D space. We present parameterization-based numerical methods for performing isotropic and anisotropic filtering on triangulated surface geometries. In contrast to existing FEM-based methods for triangulated geometries, our approach accounts for the metric of the surface. In order to discretize and numerically compute the isotropic and anisotropic geometric operators, we first parameterize the surface using a p-harmonic mapping. We then use this parameterization as our computational domain and account for the surface metric while carrying out isotropic and anisotropic filtering. To validate our method, we compare our numerical results to the analytical expression for isotropic diffusion on a spherical surface. We apply these methods to smoothing of mean curvature maps on the cortical surface, a step commonly required for analysis of gyrification or for registering surface-based maps across subjects.
Date of Publication: June 2009