The four-minute approach revisited: accelerating MRI-based multi-factorial age estimation

Bernhard Neumayer, Andreas Lesch, Franz Thaler, Thomas Widek, Sebastian Tschauner, Jannick De Tobel, Thomas Ehammer, Barbara Kirnbauer, Julian Boldt, Mayonne van Wijk, Rudolf Stollberger, Martin Urschler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: This feasibility study aimed to investigate the reliability of multi-factorial age estimation based on MR data of the hand, wisdom teeth and the clavicles with reduced acquisition time.

METHODS: The raw MR data of 34 volunteers-acquired on a 3T system and using acquisition times (TA) of 3:46 min (hand), 5:29 min (clavicles) and 10:46 min (teeth)-were retrospectively undersampled applying the commercially available CAIPIRINHA technique. Automatic and radiological age estimation methods were applied to the original image data as well as undersampled data to investigate the reliability of age estimates with decreasing acquisition time. Reliability was investigated determining standard deviation (SSD) and mean (MSD) of signed differences, intra-class correlation (ICC) and by performing Bland-Altman analysis.

RESULTS: Automatic age estimation generally showed very high reliability (SSD < 0.90 years) even for very short acquisition times (SSD ≈ 0.20 years for a total TA of 4 min). Radiological age estimation provided highly reliable results for images of the hand (ICC ≥ 0.96) and the teeth (ICC ≥ 0.79) for short acquisition times (TA = 16 s for the hand, TA = 2:21 min for the teeth), imaging data of the clavicles allowed for moderate acceleration (TA = 1:25 min, ICC ≥ 0.71).

CONCLUSIONS: The results demonstrate that reliable multi-factorial age estimation based on MRI of the hand, wisdom teeth and the clavicles can be performed using images acquired with a total acquisition time of 4 min.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Dec 2019

Cite this