Tissue-point motion tracking in the tongue from cine MRI and tagged MRI

Jonghye Woo, Maureen Stone, Yuanming Suo, Emi Z. Murano, Jerry L. Princeb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: Accurate tissue motion tracking within the tongue can help professionals diagnose and treat vocal tract-related disorders, evaluate speech quality before and after surgery, and conduct various scientific studies. The authors compared tissue tracking results from 4 widely used deformable registration (DR) methods applied to cine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with harmonic phase (HARP)-based tracking applied to tagged MRI. Method: Ten subjects repeated the phrase "a geese" multiple times while sagittal images of the head were collected at 26 Hz, first in a tagged MRI data set and then in a cine MRI data set. HARP tracked the motion of 8 specified tissue points in the tagged data set. Four DR methods including diffeomorphic demons and free-form deformations based on cubic B-spline with 3 different similarity measures were used to track the same 8 points in the cine MRI data set. Individual points were tracked and length changes of several muscles were calculated using the DR- and HARP-based tracking methods. Results: The results showed that the DR tracking errors were nonsystematic and varied in direction, amount, and timing across speakers and within speakers. Comparison of HARP and DR tracking with manual tracking showed better tracking results for HARP except at the tongue surface, where mistracking caused greater errors in HARP than DR. Conclusions: Tissue point tracking using DR tracking methods contains nonsystematic tracking errors within and across subjects, making it less successful than tagged MRI tracking within the tongue. However, HARP sometimes mistracks points at the tongue surface of tagged MRI because of its limited bandpass filter and tag pattern fading, so that DR has better success measuring surface tissue points on cine MRI than HARP does. Therefore, a hybrid method is being explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S626-S636
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Deformable registration
  • MRI
  • Muscle length
  • Point tracking
  • Tongue motion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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