Objective: Identifying disability-related brain changes is important for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Currently, there is no clear understanding about which pathological features drive disability in single MS patients. In this work, we propose a novel comprehensive approach, GAMER-MRIL, leveraging whole-brain quantitative MRI (qMRI), convolutional neural network (CNN), and an interpretability method from classifying MS patients with severe disability to investigating relevant pathological brain changes. Methods: One-hundred-sixty-six MS patients underwent 3T MRI acquisitions. qMRI informative of microstructural brain properties was reconstructed, including quantitative T1 (qT1), myelin water fraction (MWF), and neurite density index (NDI). To fully utilize the qMRI, GAMER-MRIL extended a gated-attention-based CNN (GAMER-MRI), which was developed to select patch-based qMRI important for a given task/question, to the whole-brain image. To find out disability-related brain regions, GAMER-MRIL modified a structure-aware interpretability method, Layer-wise Relevance Propagation (LRP), to incorporate qMRI. Results: The test performance was AUC=0.885. qT1 was the most sensitive measure related to disability, followed by NDI. The proposed LRP approach obtained more specifically relevant regions than other interpretability methods, including the saliency map, the integrated gradients, and the original LRP. The relevant regions included the corticospinal tract, where average qT1 and NDI significantly correlated with patients' disability scores ($\rho$=-0.37 and 0.44). Conclusion: These results demonstrated that GAMER-MRIL can classify patients with severe disability using qMRI and subsequently identify brain regions potentially important to the integrity of the mobile function. Significance: GAMER-MRIL holds promise for developing biomarkers and increasing clinicians' trust in NN.
Pretrained Transformer based models finetuned on domain specific corpora have changed the landscape of NLP. However, training or fine-tuning these models for individual tasks can be time consuming and resource intensive. Thus, a lot of current research is focused on using transformers for multi-task learning (Raffel et al.,2020) and how to group the tasks to help a multi-task model to learn effective representations that can be shared across tasks (Standley et al., 2020; Fifty et al., 2021). In this work, we show that a single multi-tasking model can match the performance of task specific models when the task specific models show similar representations across all of their hidden layers and their gradients are aligned, i.e. their gradients follow the same direction. We hypothesize that the above observations explain the effectiveness of multi-task learning. We validate our observations on our internal radiologist-annotated datasets on the cervical and lumbar spine. Our method is simple and intuitive, and can be used in a wide range of NLP problems.
Pretrained Transformer based models finetuned on domain specific corpora have changed the landscape of NLP. Generally, if one has multiple tasks on a given dataset, one may finetune different models or use task specific adapters. In this work, we show that a multi-task model can beat or achieve the performance of multiple BERT-based models finetuned on various tasks and various task specific adapter augmented BERT-based models. We validate our method on our internal radiologist's report dataset on cervical spine. We hypothesize that the tasks are semantically close and related and thus multitask learners are powerful classifiers. Our work opens the scope of using our method to radiologist's reports on various body parts.