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High-resolution MRI synthesis using a data-driven framework with denoising diffusion probabilistic modeling

  • Chang, Chih-Wei
  • Peng, Junbo
  • Safari, Mojtaba
  • Salari, Elahheh
  • Pan, Shaoyan
  • Roper, Justin
  • Qiu, Richard L J
  • Gao, Yuan
  • Shu, Hui-Kuo
  • Mao, Hui
  • Yang, Xiaofeng
Published Article
Physics in Medicine and Biology
IOP Publishing
Publication Date
Feb 05, 2024
DOI: 10.1088/1361-6560/ad209c
  • Paper


Objective. High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can enhance lesion diagnosis, prognosis, and delineation. However, gradient power and hardware limitations prohibit recording thin slices or sub-1 mm resolution. Furthermore, long scan time is not clinically acceptable. Conventional high-resolution images generated using statistical or analytical methods include the limitation of capturing complex, high-dimensional image data with intricate patterns and structures. This study aims to harness cutting-edge diffusion probabilistic deep learning techniques to create a framework for generating high-resolution MRI from low-resolution counterparts, improving the uncertainty of denoising diffusion probabilistic models (DDPM). Approach. DDPM includes two processes. The forward process employs a Markov chain to systematically introduce Gaussian noise to low-resolution MRI images. In the reverse process, a U-Net model is trained to denoise the forward process images and produce high-resolution images conditioned on the features of their low-resolution counterparts. The proposed framework was demonstrated using T2-weighted MRI images from institutional prostate patients and brain patients collected in the Brain Tumor Segmentation Challenge 2020 (BraTS2020). Main results. For the prostate dataset, the bicubic interpolation model (Bicubic), conditional generative-adversarial network (CGAN), and our proposed DDPM framework improved the noise quality measure from low-resolution images by 4.4%, 5.7%, and 12.8%, respectively. Our method enhanced the signal-to-noise ratios by 11.7%, surpassing Bicubic (9.8%) and CGAN (8.1%). In the BraTS2020 dataset, the proposed framework and Bicubic enhanced peak signal-to-noise ratio from resolution-degraded images by 9.1% and 5.8%. The multi-scale structural similarity indexes were 0.970 ± 0.019, 0.968 ± 0.022, and 0.967 ± 0.023 for the proposed method, CGAN, and Bicubic, respectively. Significance. This study explores a deep learning-based diffusion probabilistic framework for improving MR image resolution. Such a framework can be used to improve clinical workflow by obtaining high-resolution images without penalty of the long scan time. Future investigation will likely focus on prospectively testing the efficacy of this framework with different clinical indications.

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