Deep Learning-Based Segmentation to Establish East Asian Normative Volumes Using Multisite Structural MRI
Normative brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is essential to interpret the state of an individual's brain health. However, a normative study is often expensive for small research groups. Although several attempts have been made to establish brain MRI norms, the focus has been limited to certain age ranges. This study aimed to establish East Asian normative brain data using multi-site MRI and determine the robustness of these data for clinical research. Normative MRI was gathered covering a wide range of cognitively normal East Asian populations (age: 18-96 years) from two open sources and three research sites. Eight sub-regional volumes were extracted in the left and right hemispheres using an in-house deep learning-based tool. Repeated measure consistency and multicenter reliability were determined using intraclass correlation coefficients and compared to a widely used tool, FreeSurfer. Our results showed highly consistent outcomes with high reliability across sites. Our method outperformed FreeSurfer in repeated measure consistency for most structures and multicenter reliability for all structures. The normative MRI we constructed was able to identify sub-regional differences in mild cognitive impairments and dementia after covariate adjustments. Our investigation suggests it is possible to provide a sound normative reference for neurodegenerative or aging research.