This application proposes research and development related to NIMH topic #116 for the statistical analysis of brain images. In the proposed work, SPA will significantly expand the capabilities of its commercial system, STEREOLOGER, an integrated software/hardware system for unbiased stereology. Researchers use unbiased stereology techniques for estimating cell number, the volume of structure and cells, length of fibers, and surface area. Applications of these techniques include the study of neuron loss in aging, synaptic degeneration in Huntington's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, and schizophrenia, and cortical atrophy in AIDs-associated dementia.
The aim of the proposed work is to develop a user-friendly, low-cost, state-of-the-art stereology system that will not only allow both novice and expert users to collect data in the most accurate and efficient manner, but also to develop a powerful instructional tool to help educate all users in the principles of unbiased stereology methods. Feasibility tests of the proposed expanded capabilities will be conducted by highly qualified evaluation teams at the Johns Hopkins University Stereology Laboratory, the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, Maryland, and the University of Basel, Switzerland. Results of the evaluation testing will serve as the foundation for further development and refinements in Phase II.
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