Convolutional Neural Networks-Based MRI Image Analysis for the Alzheimer's Disease Prediction From Mild Cognitive Impairment.
ABSTRACT: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the prodromal stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Identifying MCI subjects who are at high risk of converting to AD is crucial for effective treatments. In this study, a deep learning approach based on convolutional neural networks (CNN), is designed to accurately predict MCI-to-AD conversion with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data. First, MRI images are prepared with age-correction and other processing. Second, local patches, which are assembled into 2.5 dimensions, are extracted from these images. Then, the patches from AD and normal controls (NC) are used to train a CNN to identify deep learning features of MCI subjects. After that, structural brain image features are mined with FreeSurfer to assist CNN. Finally, both types of features are fed into an extreme learning machine classifier to predict the AD conversion. The proposed approach is validated on the standardized MRI datasets from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) project. This approach achieves an accuracy of 79.9% and an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 86.1% in leave-one-out cross validations. Compared with other state-of-the-art methods, the proposed one outperforms others with higher accuracy and AUC, while keeping a good balance between the sensitivity and specificity. Results demonstrate great potentials of the proposed CNN-based approach for the prediction of MCI-to-AD conversion with solely MRI data. Age correction and assisted structural brain image features can boost the prediction performance of CNN.
Project description:Identifying patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) who are at high risk of progressing to Alzheimer's disease (AD) is crucial for early treatment of AD. However, it is difficult to predict the cognitive states of patients. This study developed an extreme learning machine (ELM)-based grading method to efficiently fuse multimodal data and predict MCI-to-AD conversion. First, features were extracted from magnetic resonance (MR) images, and useful features were selected using a feature selection method. Second, multiple modalities of MCI subjects, including MRI, positron emission tomography, cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers, and gene data, were individually graded using the ELM method. Finally, these grading scores calculated from different modalities were fed into a classifier to discriminate subjects with progressive MCI from those with stable MCI. The proposed approach has been validated on the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) cohort, and an accuracy of 84.7% was achieved for an AD prediction within 3 years. Experiments on predicting AD conversion from MCI within different periods showed similar results with the 3-year prediction. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed approach benefits from the efficient fusion of four modalities, resulting in an accurate prediction of MCI-to-AD conversion.
Project description:Early detection is critical for effective management of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and screening for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is common practice. Among several deep-learning techniques that have been applied to assessing structural brain changes on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), convolutional neural network (CNN) has gained popularity due to its superb efficiency in automated feature learning with the use of a variety of multilayer perceptrons. Meanwhile, ensemble learning (EL) has shown to be beneficial in the robustness of learning-system performance via integrating multiple models. Here, we proposed a classifier ensemble developed by combining CNN and EL, i.e., the CNN-EL approach, to identify subjects with MCI or AD using MRI: i.e., classification between (1) AD and healthy cognition (HC), (2) MCIc (MCI patients who will convert to AD) and HC, and (3) MCIc and MCInc (MCI patients who will not convert to AD). For each binary classification task, a large number of CNN models were trained applying a set of sagittal, coronal, or transverse MRI slices; these CNN models were then integrated into a single ensemble. Performance of the ensemble was evaluated using stratified fivefold cross-validation method for 10 times. The number of the intersection points determined by the most discriminable slices separating two classes in a binary classification task among the sagittal, coronal, and transverse slice sets, transformed into the standard Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) space, acted as an indicator to assess the ability of a brain region in which the points were located to classify AD. Thus, the brain regions with most intersection points were considered as those mostly contributing to the early diagnosis of AD. The result revealed an accuracy rate of 0.84 ± 0.05, 0.79 ± 0.04, and 0.62 ± 0.06, respectively, for classifying AD vs. HC, MCIc vs. HC, and MCIc vs. MCInc, comparable to previous reports and a 3D deep learning approach (3D-SENet) based on a more state-of-the-art and popular Squeeze-and-Excitation Networks model using channel attention mechanism. Notably, the intersection points accurately located the medial temporal lobe and several other structures of the limbic system, i.e., brain regions known to be struck early in AD. More interestingly, the classifiers disclosed multiple patterned MRI changes in the brain in AD and MCIc, involving these key regions. These results suggest that as a data-driven method, the combined CNN and EL approach can locate the most discriminable brain regions indicated by the trained ensemble model while the generalization ability of the ensemble model was maximized to successfully capture AD-related brain variations early in the disease process; it can also provide new insights into understanding the complex heterogeneity of whole-brain MRI changes in AD. Further research is needed to examine the clinical implication of the finding, capability of the advocated CNN-EL approach to help understand and evaluate an individual subject's disease status, symptom burden and progress, and the generalizability of the advocated CNN-EL approach to locate the most discriminable brain regions in the detection of other brain disorders such as schizophrenia, autism, and severe depression, in a data-driven way.
Project description:Combining machine learning with neuroimaging data has a great potential for early diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, it remains unclear how well the classifiers built on one population can predict MCI/AD diagnosis of other populations. This study aimed to employ a spectral graph convolutional neural network (graph-CNN), that incorporated cortical thickness and geometry, to identify MCI and AD based on 3089 T1-weighted MRI data of the ADNI-2 cohort, and to evaluate its feasibility to predict AD in the ADNI-1 cohort (n = 3602) and an Asian cohort (n = 347). For the ADNI-2 cohort, the graph-CNN showed classification accuracy of controls (CN) vs. AD at 85.8% and early MCI (EMCI) vs. AD at 79.2%, followed by CN vs. late MCI (LMCI) (69.3%), LMCI vs. AD (65.2%), EMCI vs. LMCI (60.9%), and CN vs. EMCI (51.8%). We demonstrated the robustness of the graph-CNN among the existing deep learning approaches, such as Euclidean-domain-based multilayer network and 1D CNN on cortical thickness, and 2D and 3D CNNs on T1-weighted MR images of the ADNI-2 cohort. The graph-CNN also achieved the prediction on the conversion of EMCI to AD at 75% and that of LMCI to AD at 92%. The find-tuned graph-CNN further provided a promising CN vs. AD classification accuracy of 89.4% on the ADNI-1 cohort and >90% on the Asian cohort. Our study demonstrated the feasibility to transfer AD/MCI classifiers learned from one population to the other. Notably, incorporating cortical geometry in CNN has the potential to improve classification performance.
Project description:Modern machine learning algorithms are increasingly being used in neuroimaging studies, such as the prediction of Alzheimer's disease (AD) from structural MRI. However, finding a good representation for multivariate brain MRI features in which their essential structure is revealed and easily extractable has been difficult. We report a successful application of a machine learning framework that significantly improved the use of brain MRI for predictions. Specifically, we used the unsupervised learning algorithm of local linear embedding (LLE) to transform multivariate MRI data of regional brain volume and cortical thickness to a locally linear space with fewer dimensions, while also utilizing the global nonlinear data structure. The embedded brain features were then used to train a classifier for predicting future conversion to AD based on a baseline MRI. We tested the approach on 413 individuals from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) who had baseline MRI scans and complete clinical follow-ups over 3 years with the following diagnoses: cognitive normal (CN; n=137), stable mild cognitive impairment (s-MCI; n=93), MCI converters to AD (c-MCI, n=97), and AD (n=86). We found that classifications using embedded MRI features generally outperformed (p<0.05) classifications using the original features directly. Moreover, the improvement from LLE was not limited to a particular classifier but worked equally well for regularized logistic regressions, support vector machines, and linear discriminant analysis. Most strikingly, using LLE significantly improved (p=0.007) predictions of MCI subjects who converted to AD and those who remained stable (accuracy/sensitivity/specificity: =0.68/0.80/0.56). In contrast, predictions using the original features performed not better than by chance (accuracy/sensitivity/specificity: =0.56/0.65/0.46). In conclusion, LLE is a very effective tool for classification studies of AD using multivariate MRI data. The improvement in predicting conversion to AD in MCI could have important implications for health management and for powering therapeutic trials by targeting non-demented subjects who later convert to AD.
Project description:Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a transitional stage between age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease (AD). For the effective treatment of AD, it would be important to identify MCI patients at high risk for conversion to AD. In this study, we present a novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based method for predicting the MCI-to-AD conversion from one to three years before the clinical diagnosis. First, we developed a novel MRI biomarker of MCI-to-AD conversion using semi-supervised learning and then integrated it with age and cognitive measures about the subjects using a supervised learning algorithm resulting in what we call the aggregate biomarker. The novel characteristics of the methods for learning the biomarkers are as follows: 1) We used a semi-supervised learning method (low density separation) for the construction of MRI biomarker as opposed to more typical supervised methods; 2) We performed a feature selection on MRI data from AD subjects and normal controls without using data from MCI subjects via regularized logistic regression; 3) We removed the aging effects from the MRI data before the classifier training to prevent possible confounding between AD and age related atrophies; and 4) We constructed the aggregate biomarker by first learning a separate MRI biomarker and then combining it with age and cognitive measures about the MCI subjects at the baseline by applying a random forest classifier. We experimentally demonstrated the added value of these novel characteristics in predicting the MCI-to-AD conversion on data obtained from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) database. With the ADNI data, the MRI biomarker achieved a 10-fold cross-validated area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.7661 in discriminating progressive MCI patients (pMCI) from stable MCI patients (sMCI). Our aggregate biomarker based on MRI data together with baseline cognitive measurements and age achieved a 10-fold cross-validated AUC score of 0.9020 in discriminating pMCI from sMCI. The results presented in this study demonstrate the potential of the suggested approach for early AD diagnosis and an important role of MRI in the MCI-to-AD conversion prediction. However, it is evident based on our results that combining MRI data with cognitive test results improved the accuracy of the MCI-to-AD conversion prediction.
Project description:Deep learning, a state-of-the-art machine learning approach, has shown outstanding performance over traditional machine learning in identifying intricate structures in complex high-dimensional data, especially in the domain of computer vision. The application of deep learning to early detection and automated classification of Alzheimer's disease (AD) has recently gained considerable attention, as rapid progress in neuroimaging techniques has generated large-scale multimodal neuroimaging data. A systematic review of publications using deep learning approaches and neuroimaging data for diagnostic classification of AD was performed. A PubMed and Google Scholar search was used to identify deep learning papers on AD published between January 2013 and July 2018. These papers were reviewed, evaluated, and classified by algorithm and neuroimaging type, and the findings were summarized. Of 16 studies meeting full inclusion criteria, 4 used a combination of deep learning and traditional machine learning approaches, and 12 used only deep learning approaches. The combination of traditional machine learning for classification and stacked auto-encoder (SAE) for feature selection produced accuracies of up to 98.8% for AD classification and 83.7% for prediction of conversion from mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a prodromal stage of AD, to AD. Deep learning approaches, such as convolutional neural network (CNN) or recurrent neural network (RNN), that use neuroimaging data without pre-processing for feature selection have yielded accuracies of up to 96.0% for AD classification and 84.2% for MCI conversion prediction. The best classification performance was obtained when multimodal neuroimaging and fluid biomarkers were combined. Deep learning approaches continue to improve in performance and appear to hold promise for diagnostic classification of AD using multimodal neuroimaging data. AD research that uses deep learning is still evolving, improving performance by incorporating additional hybrid data types, such as-omics data, increasing transparency with explainable approaches that add knowledge of specific disease-related features and mechanisms.
Project description:Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a clinical state with a high risk of conversion to Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Since there is no effective treatment for AD, it is extremely important to diagnose MCI as early as possible, as this makes it possible to delay its progression toward AD. However, it's challenging to identify early MCI (EMCI) because there are only mild changes in the brain structures of patients compared with a normal control (NC). To extract remarkable features for these mild changes, in this paper, a multi-modality diagnosis approach based on deep learning is presented. Firstly, we propose to use structure MRI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) images as the multi-modality data to identify EMCI. Then, a convolutional neural network based on transfer learning technique is developed to extract features of the multi-modality data, where an L1-norm is introduced to reduce the feature dimensionality and retrieve essential features for the identification. At last, the classifier produces 94.2% accuracy for EMCI vs. NC on an ADNI dataset. Experimental results show that multi-modality data can provide more useful information to distinguish EMCI from NC compared with single modality data, and the proposed method can improve classification performance, which is beneficial to early intervention of AD. In addition, it is found that DTI image can act as an important biomarker for EMCI from the point of view of a clinical diagnosis.
Project description:Prediction of conversion from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to Alzheimer's disease (AD) is of major interest in AD research. A large number of potential predictors have been proposed, with most investigations tending to examine one or a set of related predictors. In this study, we simultaneously examined multiple features from different modalities of data, including structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) morphometry, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers and neuropsychological and functional measures (NMs), to explore an optimal set of predictors of conversion from MCI to AD in an Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) cohort. After FreeSurfer-derived MRI feature extraction, CSF and NM feature collection, feature selection was employed to choose optimal subsets of features from each modality. Support vector machine (SVM) classifiers were then trained on normal control (NC) and AD participants. Testing was conducted on MCIc (MCI individuals who have converted to AD within 24 months) and MCInc (MCI individuals who have not converted to AD within 24 months) groups. Classification results demonstrated that NMs outperformed CSF and MRI features. The combination of selected NM, MRI and CSF features attained an accuracy of 67.13%, a sensitivity of 96.43%, a specificity of 48.28%, and an AUC (area under curve) of 0.796. Analysis of the predictive values of MCIc who converted at different follow-up evaluations showed that the predictive values were significantly different between individuals who converted within 12 months and after 12 months. This study establishes meaningful multivariate predictors composed of selected NM, MRI and CSF measures which may be useful and practical for clinical diagnosis.
Project description:Recently, there have been great interests for computer-aided diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and its prodromal stage, mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Unlike the previous methods that considered simple low-level features such as gray matter tissue volumes from MRI, and mean signal intensities from PET, in this paper, we propose a deep learning-based latent feature representation with a stacked auto-encoder (SAE). We believe that there exist latent non-linear complicated patterns inherent in the low-level features such as relations among features. Combining the latent information with the original features helps build a robust model in AD/MCI classification, with high diagnostic accuracy. Furthermore, thanks to the unsupervised characteristic of the pre-training in deep learning, we can benefit from the target-unrelated samples to initialize parameters of SAE, thus finding optimal parameters in fine-tuning with the target-related samples, and further enhancing the classification performances across four binary classification problems: AD vs. healthy normal control (HC), MCI vs. HC, AD vs. MCI, and MCI converter (MCI-C) vs. MCI non-converter (MCI-NC). In our experiments on ADNI dataset, we validated the effectiveness of the proposed method, showing the accuracies of 98.8, 90.7, 83.7, and 83.3?% for AD/HC, MCI/HC, AD/MCI, and MCI-C/MCI-NC classification, respectively. We believe that deep learning can shed new light on the neuroimaging data analysis, and our work presented the applicability of this method to brain disease diagnosis.
Project description:Many machine learning and pattern classification methods have been applied to the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and its prodromal stage, i.e., mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Recently, rather than predicting categorical variables as in classification, several pattern regression methods have also been used to estimate continuous clinical variables from brain images. However, most existing regression methods focus on estimating multiple clinical variables separately and thus cannot utilize the intrinsic useful correlation information among different clinical variables. On the other hand, in those regression methods, only a single modality of data (usually only the structural MRI) is often used, without considering the complementary information that can be provided by different modalities. In this paper, we propose a general methodology, namely multi-modal multi-task (M3T) learning, to jointly predict multiple variables from multi-modal data. Here, the variables include not only the clinical variables used for regression but also the categorical variable used for classification, with different tasks corresponding to prediction of different variables. Specifically, our method contains two key components, i.e., (1) a multi-task feature selection which selects the common subset of relevant features for multiple variables from each modality, and (2) a multi-modal support vector machine which fuses the above-selected features from all modalities to predict multiple (regression and classification) variables. To validate our method, we perform two sets of experiments on ADNI baseline MRI, FDG-PET, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) data from 45 AD patients, 91 MCI patients, and 50 healthy controls (HC). In the first set of experiments, we estimate two clinical variables such as Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-Cog), as well as one categorical variable (with value of 'AD', 'MCI' or 'HC'), from the baseline MRI, FDG-PET, and CSF data. In the second set of experiments, we predict the 2-year changes of MMSE and ADAS-Cog scores and also the conversion of MCI to AD from the baseline MRI, FDG-PET, and CSF data. The results on both sets of experiments demonstrate that our proposed M3T learning scheme can achieve better performance on both regression and classification tasks than the conventional learning methods.