Comparative utility of manual versus automated segmentation of hippocampus and entorhinal cortex volumes in a memory clinic sample Academic Article uri icon


  • Structural neuroimaging is a useful non-invasive biomarker commonly employed to evaluate the integrity of mesial temporal lobe structures that are typically compromised in Alzheimer's disease. Advances in quantitative neuroimaging have permitted the development of automated segmentation protocols (e.g., FreeSurfer) with significantly increased efficiency compared to earlier manual techniques. While these protocols have been found to be suitable for large-scale, multi-site research studies, we were interested in assessing the practical utility and reliability of automated FreeSurfer protocols compared to manual volumetry on routinely acquired clinical scans. Independent validation studies with newer automated segmentation protocols are scarce. Two FreeSurfer protocols for each of two regions of interest-the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex-were compared against manual volumetry. High reliability and agreement was found between FreeSurfer and manual hippocampal protocols, however, there was lower reliability and agreement between FreeSurfer and manual entorhinal protocols. Although based on a the relatively small sample of subjects drawn from a memory clinic (n = 27), our study findings suggest further refinements to improve measurement error and most accurately depict true regional brain volumes using automated segmentation protocols are required, especially for non-hippocampal mesial temporal structures, to achieve maximal utility for routine clinical evaluations.

publication date

  • 2019