Multidirectional and Topography-based Dynamic-scale Varifold Representations with Application to Matching Developing Cortical Surfaces

Islem Rekik, Gang Li, Weili Lin, Dinggang Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The human cerebral cortex is marked by great complexity as well as substantial dynamic changes during early postnatal development. To obtain a fairly comprehensive picture of its age-induced and/or disorder-related cortical changes, one needs to match cortical surfaces to one another, while maximizing their anatomical alignment. Methods that geodesically shoot surfaces into one another as currents (a distribution of oriented normals) and varifolds (a distribution of non-oriented normals) provide an elegant Riemannian framework for generic surface matching and reliable statistical analysis. However, both conventional current and varifold matching methods have two key limitations. First, they only use the normals of the surface to measure its geometry and guide the warping process, which overlooks the importance of the orientations of the inherently convoluted cortical sulcal and gyral folds. Second, the 'conversion' of a surface into a current or a varifold operates at a fixed scale under which geometric surface details will be neglected, which ignores the dynamic scales of cortical foldings. To overcome these limitations and improve varifold-based cortical surface registration, we propose two different strategies. The first strategy decomposes each cortical surface into its normal and tangent varifold representations, by integrating principal curvature direction field into the varifold matching framework, thus providing rich information of the orientation of cortical folding and better characterization of the complex cortical geometry. The second strategy explores the informative cortical geometric features to perform a dynamic-scale measurement of the cortical surface that depends on the local surface topography (e.g., principal curvature), thereby we introduce the concept of a topography-based dynamic-scale varifold. We tested the proposed varifold variants for registering 12 pairs of dynamically developing cortical surfaces from 0 to 6 months of age. Both variants improved the matching accuracy in terms of closeness to the target surface and the goodness of alignment with regional anatomical boundaries, when compared with three state-of-the-art methods: (1) diffeomorphic spectral matching, (2) conventional current-based surface matching, and (3) conventional varifold-based surface matching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-162
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 15

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.


  • Brain development
  • Cortical surface matching
  • Dynamic scale varifold metric
  • Multidirectional varifold representation
  • Surface registration
  • Surface topography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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