Measuring Strain in Diffusion-Weighted Data Using Tagged Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Fangxu Xing, Xiaofeng Liu, Timothy G. Reese, Maureen Stone, Van J. Wedeen, Jerry L. Prince, Georges El Fakhri, Jonghye Woo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Accurate strain measurement in a deforming organ has been essential in motion analysis using medical images. In recent years, internal tissue’s in vivo motion and strain computation has been mostly achieved through dynamic magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. However, such data lack information on tissue’s intrinsic fiber directions, preventing computed strain tensors from being projected onto a direction of interest. Although diffusion-weighted MR imaging excels at providing fiber tractography, it yields static images unmatched with dynamic MR data. This work reports an algorithm workflow that estimates strain values in the diffusion MR space by matching corresponding tagged dynamic MR images. We focus on processing a dataset of various human tongue deformations in speech. The geometry of tongue muscle fibers is provided by diffusion tractography, while spatiotemporal motion fields are provided by tagged MR analysis. The tongue’s deforming shapes are determined by segmenting a synthetic cine dynamic MR sequence generated from tagged data using a deep neural network. Estimated motion fields are transformed into the diffusion MR space using diffeomorphic registration, eventually leading to strain values computed in the direction of muscle fibers. The method was tested on 78 time volumes acquired during three sets of specific tongue deformations including both speech and protrusion motion. Strain in the line of action of seven internal tongue muscles was extracted and compared both intra- and inter-subject. Resulting compression and stretching patterns of individual muscles revealed the unique behavior of individual muscles and their potential activation pattern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2022
Subtitle of host publicationImage Processing
EditorsOlivier Colliot, Ivana Isgum, Bennett A. Landman, Murray H. Loew
ISBN (Electronic)9781510649392
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes
EventMedical Imaging 2022: Image Processing - Virtual, Online
Duration: Mar 21 2021Mar 27 2021

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceMedical Imaging 2022: Image Processing
CityVirtual, Online


  • Tongue function
  • deep learning
  • diffusion MRI
  • internal muscles
  • motion
  • speech
  • strain
  • tagged MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Biomaterials


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