Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Committee Chair

El-Baz, Ayman Sabry


Autism--Diagnosis; Diagnostic imaging


Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) denote a significant growing public health concern. Currently, one in 68 children has been diagnosed with ASDs in the United States, and most children are diagnosed after the age of four, despite the fact that ASDs can be identified as early as age two. The ultimate goal of this thesis is to develop a computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) system for the accurate and early diagnosis of ASDs using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). This CAD system consists of three main steps. First, the brain tissues are segmented based on three image descriptors: a visual appearance model that has the ability to model a large dimensional feature space, a shape model that is adapted during the segmentation process using first- and second-order visual appearance features, and a spatially invariant second-order homogeneity descriptor. Secondly, discriminatory features are extracted from the segmented brains. Cortex shape variability is assessed using shape construction methods, and white matter integrity is further examined through connectivity analysis. Finally, the diagnostic capabilities of these extracted features are investigated. The accuracy of the presented CAD system has been tested on 25 infants with a high risk of developing ASDs. The preliminary diagnostic results are promising in identifying autistic from control patients.