Relevance Vector Machines for Harmonization of MRI Brain Volumes Using Image Descriptors
With the increased need for multi-center magnetic resonance imaging studies, problems arise related to differences in hardware and software between centers. Namely, current algorithms for brain volume quantification are unreliable for the longitudinal assessment of volume changes in this type of setting. Currently most methods attempt to decrease this issue by regressing the scanner- and/or center-effects from the original data. In this work, we explore a novel approach to harmonize brain volume measurements by using only image descriptors. First, we explore the relationships between volumes and image descriptors. Then, we train a Relevance Vector Machine (RVM) model over a large multi-site dataset of healthy subjects to perform volume harmonization. Finally, we validate the method over two different datasets: (i) a subset of unseen healthy controls; and (ii) a test-retest dataset of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. The method decreases scanner and center variability while preserving measurements that did not require correction in MS patient data. We show that image descriptors can be used as input to a machine learning algorithm to improve the reliability of longitudinal volumetric studies.
KeywordsRVM Harmonization MRI Brain volumes
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