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In this paper, the problem of retrospective correction of intensity inhomogeneity in magnetic resonance (MR) images is addressed. A novel model-based correction method is proposed, based on the assumption that an image corrupted by intensity inhomogeneity contains more information than the corresponding uncorrupted image. The image degradation process is described by a linear model, consisting of a multiplicative and an additive component which are modeled by a combination of smoothly varying basis functions. The degraded image is corrected by the inverse of the image degradation model. The parameters of this model are optimized such that the information of the corrected image is minimized while the global intensity statistic is preserved. The method was quantitatively evaluated and compared to other methods on a number of simulated and real MR images and proved to be effective, reliable, and computationally attractive. The method can be widely applied to different types of MR images because it solely uses the information that is naturally present in an image, without making assumptions on its spatial and intensity distribution. Besides, the method requires no preprocessing, parameter setting, nor user interaction. Consequently, the proposed method may be a valuable tool in MR image analysis.