A team of researchers from the ITACA Institute of Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) and the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS, by its acronym in French), has developed a new online tool for the study of the brain. It is vol2Brain, a totally free software that allows obtaining information of special relevance for the advancement of research on neurological pathologies.
vol2Brain is capable of analyzing up to 135 regions of the brain from magnetic resonance images (MRI), offering information on the volumes of the tissues of the intracranial cavity (ICC) as well as some macroscopic areas such as the cerebral hemispheres, the cerebellum and the brain stem.
Likewise, vol2Brain also provides the volumes and asymmetry indices of cortical and subcortical structures, of great importance in the neurological field, and measurements of cortical thickness. “All this information”, highlights José Vicente Manjón, researcher of the IBIME-ITACA group of the UPV and one of the coordinators of vol2Brain, “is key to advance in the knowledge of neurological diseases”.
Ease of use and speed of analysis
This new software is the result of 3 years of work financed by a national project of the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness. Among its main advantages, vol2Brain stands out mainly for its ease of use and speed of analysis, aspects that differentiate it from other similar systems on the market.
«The user», explains Manjón, «only has to send a compressed file through the web and, in 20 minutes, they will receive an email with the results of the segmentation and processing of brain volumes. Current similar systems take an average 6 hours to offer this information, «says the UPV researcher.
8,000 cases processed per month … and on the rise
Another of the most interesting features of the new system is the fact that it can be used by people with lesions in the white matter, such as patients with multiple sclerosis. “In volBrain, the previous version of our software,” adds Manjón, “the presence of these lesions affected the precision of the measurements. With this new version, the scope of application is extended to a greater range of pathological situations ”.vCurrently, the system processes around 8,000 cases per month, and its use continues to grow. In fact, in the coming months, a complete remodeling of the web platform will be carried out, which will double the computing capacity and include new tools based on deep learning.
The development of Vol2Brain reinforces the leadership, worldwide, of the work carried out by the UPV and the CNRS to continue advancing in the research of neurological diseases. Its predecessor – volBrain – is today one of the most accurate systems in the world for volumetric analysis of MRI images of the brain.
Not surprisingly, since its launch in 2016, the system has automatically analyzed more than 320,000 brains of more than 5,000 users from 1,830 different institutions around the world, and the results of the analyzes carried out have been published in 247 scientific articles , which demonstrates the impact that the platform has had on neuroimaging research.vIn the last 5 years, the creators of volBrain have included several additional tools to analyze specific parts of the brain, such as the CERES software, winner of the independent competition of the renowned MICCAI congress and currently considered the best method in the world for analysis of the cerebellum.
Source: UPV’s Information Office