The neurocranium changes rapidly in early childhood to accommodate the growing brain. Developmental disorders and environmental factors such as sleep position may lead to abnormal neurocranial maturation. Therefore, it is important to understand how this structure develops, in order to provide a baseline for early detection of anomalies. However, its anatomy has not yet been well studied in early childhood due to the lack of available imaging databases. In hospitals, CT is typically used to image the neurocranium when a pathology is suspected, but the presence of ionizing radiation makes it harder to construct databases of healthy subjects. In this study, instead, we use a dataset of MRI data from healthy normal children in the age range of 6 months to 36 months to study the development of the neurocranium. After extracting its outline from the MRI data, we used a conformal geometry-based analysis pipeline to detect local thickness growth throughout this age span. These changes will help us understand cranial bone development with respect to the brain, as well as detect abnormal variations, which will in turn inform better treatment strategies for implicated disorders.
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