Strain map of the tongue in normal and ALS speech patterns from tagged and diffusion MRI

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

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

2 Scopus citations


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a neurological disease that causes death of neurons controlling muscle movements. Loss of speech and swallowing functions is a major impact due to degeneration of the tongue muscles. In speech studies using magnetic resonance (MR) techniques, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is used to capture internal tongue muscle fiber structures in three-dimensions (3D) in a non-invasive manner. Tagged magnetic resonance images (tMRI) are used to record tongue motion during speech. In this work, we aim to combine information obtained with both MR imaging techniques to compare the functionality characteristics of the tongue between normal and ALS subjects. We first extracted 3D motion of the tongue using tMRI from fourteen normal subjects in speech. The estimated motion sequences were then warped using diffeomorphic registration into the b0 spaces of the DTI data of two normal subjects and an ALS patient. We then constructed motion atlases by averaging all warped motion fields in each b0 space, and computed strain in the line of action along the muscle fiber directions provided by tractography. Strain in line with the fiber directions provides a quantitative map of the potential active region of the tongue during speech. Comparison between normal and ALS subjects explores the changing volume of compressing tongue tissues in speech facing the situation of muscle degradation. The proposed framework provides for the first time a dynamic map of contracting fibers in ALS speech patterns, and has the potential to provide more insight into the detrimental effects of ALS on speech.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2018
Subtitle of host publicationImage Processing
EditorsElsa D. Angelini, Elsa D. Angelini, Bennett A. Landman
ISBN (Electronic)9781510616370
StatePublished - 2018
EventMedical Imaging 2018: Image Processing - Houston, United States
Duration: Feb 11 2018Feb 13 2018

Publication series

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


OtherMedical Imaging 2018: Image Processing
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • ALS
  • DTI
  • Tongue
  • atlas
  • dynamic MRI
  • motion
  • speech function
  • tractography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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