Quantifying Velopharyngeal Motion Variation in Speech Sound Production Using an Audio-Informed Dynamic MRI Atlas

Fangxu Xing, Riwei Jin, Imani Gilbert, Georges El Fakhri, Jamie Perry, Bradley Sutton, Jonghye Woo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


New developments in dynamic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) facilitate high-quality data acquisition of human velopharyngeal deformations in real-time speech. With recently established speech motion atlases, group analysis is made possible via spatially and temporally aligned datasets in the atlas space from a desired population of interest. In practice, when analyzing motion characteristics from various subjects performing a designated speech task, it is observed that different subjects’ velopharyngeal deformation patterns could vary during the pronunciation of the same utterance, regardless of the spatial and temporal alignment of their MRI. Since such variation can be subtle, identification and extraction of unique patterns out of these high-dimensional datasets is a challenging task. In this work, we present a method that computes and visualizes subtle deformation variation patterns as principal components of a subject group’s dynamic motion fields in the atlas space. Coupled with the real-time speech audio recordings during image acquisition, the key time frames that contain maximum speech variations are identified by the principal components of temporally aligned audio waveforms, which in turn inform the temporal location of the maximum spatial deformation variation. Henceforth, the motion fields between the key frames and the reference frame for each subject are computed and warped into the common atlas space, enabling a direct extraction of motion variation patterns via quantitative analysis. The method was evaluated on a dataset of twelve healthy subjects. Subtle velopharyngeal motion differences were visualized quantitatively to reveal pronunciation-specific patterns among different subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2023
Subtitle of host publicationImage Processing
EditorsOlivier Colliot, Ivana Isgum
ISBN (Electronic)9781510660335
StatePublished - 2023
EventMedical Imaging 2023: Image Processing - San Diego, United States
Duration: Feb 19 2023Feb 23 2023

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceMedical Imaging 2023: Image Processing
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • Motion
  • PCA
  • atlas
  • audio waveform
  • dynamic MRI
  • speech
  • velopharynx

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Biomaterials


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