Enhancing the estimation of fiber orientation distributions using convolutional neural networks

Oeslle Lucena*, Sjoerd B. Vos, Vejay Vakharia, John Duncan, Keyoumars Ashkan, Rachel Sparks, Sebastien Ourselin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Local fiber orientation distributions (FODs) can be computed from diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI). The accuracy and ability of FODs to resolve complex fiber configurations benefits from acquisition protocols that sample a high number of gradient directions, a high maximum b-value, and multiple b-values. However, acquisition time and scanners that follow these standards are limited in clinical settings, often resulting in dMRI acquired at a single shell (single b-value). In this work, we learn improved FODs from clinically acquired dMRI. We evaluate patch-based 3D convolutional neural networks (CNNs) on their ability to regress multi-shell FODs from single-shell FODs, using constrained spherical deconvolution (CSD). We evaluate U-Net and High-Resolution Network (HighResNet) 3D CNN architectures on data from the Human Connectome Project and an in-house dataset. We evaluate how well each CNN can resolve FODs 1) when training and testing on datasets with the same dMRI acquisition protocol; 2) when testing on a dataset with a different dMRI acquisition protocol than used to train the CNN; and 3) when testing on a dataset with a fewer number of gradient directions than used to train the CNN. This work is a step towards more accurate FOD estimation in time- and resource-limited clinical environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104643
JournalComputers in Biology and Medicine
Early online date14 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Constrained spherical deconvolution
  • Deep learning
  • Diffusion weighted image
  • Tractography


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