Individualized statistical learning from medical image databases: Application to identification of brain lesions

Guray Erus, Evangelia I. Zacharaki, Christos Davatzikos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a method for capturing statistical variation of normal imaging phenotypes, with emphasis on brain structure. The method aims to estimate the statistical variation of a normative set of images from healthy individuals, and identify abnormalities as deviations from normality. A direct estimation of the statistical variation of the entire volumetric image is challenged by the high-dimensionality of images relative to smaller sample sizes. To overcome this limitation, we iteratively sample a large number of lower dimensional subspaces that capture image characteristics ranging from fine and localized to coarser and more global. Within each subspace, a "target-specific" feature selection strategy is applied to further reduce the dimensionality, by considering only imaging characteristics present in a test subject's images. Marginal probability density functions of selected features are estimated through PCA models, in conjunction with an "estimability" criterion that limits the dimensionality of estimated probability densities according to available sample size and underlying anatomy variation. A test sample is iteratively projected to the subspaces of these marginals as determined by PCA models, and its trajectory delineates potential abnormalities. The method is applied to segmentation of various brain lesion types, and to simulated data on which superiority of the iterative method over straight PCA is demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-554
Number of pages13
JournalMedical image analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Abnormality segmentation
  • Brain MRI
  • PCA
  • Statistical learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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