Method for retrospective estimation of natural head movement during structural MRI

Domenico Zacà, Uri Hasson, Ludovico Minati, Jorge Jovicich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Head motion during brain structural MRI scans biases brain morphometry measurements but quantitative retrospective methods estimating head motion from structural MRI have not been evaluated. Purpose: To verify the hypothesis that two metrics retrospectively computed from MR images: 1) average edge strength (AES, reduced with image blurring) and 2) entropy (ENT, increased with blurring and ringing artifacts) could be sensitive to in-scanner head motion during acquisition of T1-weighted MR images. Study Type: Retrospective. Population/Subjects/Phantom/Specimen/Animal Model: In all, 83 healthy control (HC) and 120 Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. Field Strength/Sequence: 3D magnetization-prepared rapid gradient-echo (MPRAGE) images at 3T. Assessment: We 1) compared AES and ENT distribution between HC and PD; 2) evaluated the correlation between tremor score (TS) and AES (or ENT) in PD; and 3) investigated cortical regions showing an association between AES (or ENT) and local and network-level covariance measures of cortical thickness (CT), gray to white matter contrast (GWC) and gray matter density maps (GMx). Statistical Tests: 1) Student's t-test. 2) Spearman's rank correlation. 3) General linear model and partial least square analysis. Results: AES, but not ENT, differentiated HC and PD (P = 0.02, HC median AES = 39.8, interquartile range = 9.8, PD median AES = 37.6, interquartile range = 8.1). In PD, AES correlated negatively with TS (ρ = –0.21, P = 0.02) and showed a significant relationship (|Z| >3, P < 0.001) with structural covariance of CT and GWC in 54 out of 68 cortical regions. Data Conclusion: In clinical populations prone to head motion, AES can provide a reliable retrospective index of motion during structural scans, identifying brain areas whose morphometric measures covary with motion. Level of Evidence: 3. Technical Efficacy: Stage 2. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2018;48:927–937.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)927-937
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


  • Parkinson's disease
  • average edge strength
  • brain morphometry
  • brain structural MRI
  • entropy
  • head motion


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