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Presents a fully automated process for segmentation and classification of multispectral magnetic resonance (MR) images. This hybrid neural network method uses a Kohonen self-organizing neural network for segmentation and a multilayer backpropagation neural network for classification. To separate different tissue types, this process uses the standard T1-, T2-, and PD-weighted MR images acquired in clinical examinations. Volumetric measurements of brain structures, relative to intracranial volume, were calculated for an index transverse section in 14 normal subjects (median age 25 years; 7 male, 7 female). This index slice was at the level of the basal ganglia, included both genu and splenium of the corpus callosum, and generally, showed the putamen and lateral ventricle. An intraclass correlation of this automated segmentation and classification of tissues with the accepted standard of radiologist identification for the index slice in the 14 volunteers demonstrated coefficients (r i) of 0.91, 0.95, and 0.98 for white matter, gray matter, and ventricular cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), respectively. An analysis of variance for estimates of brain parenchyma volumes in 5 volunteers imaged 5 times each demonstrated high intrasubject reproducibility with a significance of at least p<0.05 for white matter, gray matter, and white/gray partial volumes. The population variation, across 14 volunteers, demonstrated little deviation from the averages for gray and white matter, while partial volume classes exhibited a slightly higher degree of variability. This fully automated technique produces reliable and reproducible MR image segmentation and classification while eliminating intra- and interobserver variability.