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Exploring Brain Connectivity with Two-Dimensional Neural Maps

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3 Author(s)
Radu Jianu ; Brown University, Providence ; Cagatay Demiralp ; David H. Laidlaw

We introduce two-dimensional neural maps for exploring connectivity in the brain. For this, we create standard streamtube models from diffusion-weighted brain imaging data sets along with neural paths hierarchically projected into the plane. These planar neural maps combine desirable properties of low-dimensional representations, such as visual clarity and ease of tract-of-interest selection, with the anatomical familiarity of 3D brain models and planar sectional views. We distribute this type of visualization both in a traditional stand-alone interactive application and as a novel, lightweight web-accessible system. The web interface integrates precomputed neural-path representations into a geographical digital-maps framework with associated labels, metrics, statistics, and linkouts. Anecdotal and quantitative comparisons of the present method with a recently proposed 2D point representation suggest that our representation is more intuitive and easier to use and learn. Similarly, users are faster and more accurate in selecting bundles using the 2D path representation than the 2D point representation. Finally, expert feedback on the web interface suggests that it can be useful for collaboration as well as quick exploration of data.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics  (Volume:18 ,  Issue: 6 )