MultiXplore: Visual exploration platform for multimodal neuroimaging data
Journal of Neuroscience Methods
URL with Digital Object Identifier
Background Construction of brain functional and structural networks by neuroimaging methods facilitates inter-modal studies. These type of studies often demand exploration tools to carry out functional–structural discoveries and answer questions regarding the anatomical basis of brain networks. New method This paper describes the design and development of a software module for interactive visualization and exploration of dual-modal brain networks. Our objective was to equip the user with a research tool to investigate brain connectivity matrices while visualizing relevant anatomical landmarks within a 3D volumetric view. In order to create this view, MultiXplore was designed to load data from both structural and diffusion MRI and connectivity matrices. Results Once user starts to select desired cells through an interactive matrix unit, associated axonal fiber pathways and grey matter regions are generated and displayed. Integration and visualization of functional and structural networks in this 3D interactive framework was successfully implemented and tested. Comparison with existing method(s) MultiXplore contributes to the transition of connectivity visualization techniques from node-link format to an anatomically more realistic graphical form and assists scientists in relating connectivity matrices to their anatomical correlates. This module also benefits from additional novel functionalities to annotate and differentiate fibers in a large bundle. Unlike traditional graph displays, interactive functionality helps in the inspection and visualization of relevant structures without cluttering the scene with excessive items. Conclusion This module was designed and developed as a plugin to 3D Slicer imaging platform and is accessible for neuroimaging researchers through NITRC (http://www.nitrc.org/projects/multixplore/).