Harnessing the power of pre-training on large-scale datasets like ImageNet forms a fundamental building block for the progress of representation learning-driven solutions in computer vision. Medical images are inherently different from natural images as they are acquired in the form of many modalities (CT, MR, PET, Ultrasound etc.) and contain granulated information like tissue, lesion, organs etc. These characteristics of medical images require special attention towards learning features representative of local context. In this work, we focus on designing an effective pre-training framework for 3D radiology images. First, we propose a new masking strategy called local masking where the masking is performed across channel embeddings instead of tokens to improve the learning of local feature representations. We combine this with classical low-level perturbations like adding noise and downsampling to further enable low-level representation learning. To this end, we introduce Disruptive Autoencoders, a pre-training framework that attempts to reconstruct the original image from disruptions created by a combination of local masking and low-level perturbations. Additionally, we also devise a cross-modal contrastive loss (CMCL) to accommodate the pre-training of multiple modalities in a single framework. We curate a large-scale dataset to enable pre-training of 3D medical radiology images (MRI and CT). The proposed pre-training framework is tested across multiple downstream tasks and achieves state-of-the-art performance. Notably, our proposed method tops the public test leaderboard of BTCV multi-organ segmentation challenge.
The number of international benchmarking competitions is steadily increasing in various fields of machine learning (ML) research and practice. So far, however, little is known about the common practice as well as bottlenecks faced by the community in tackling the research questions posed. To shed light on the status quo of algorithm development in the specific field of biomedical imaging analysis, we designed an international survey that was issued to all participants of challenges conducted in conjunction with the IEEE ISBI 2021 and MICCAI 2021 conferences (80 competitions in total). The survey covered participants' expertise and working environments, their chosen strategies, as well as algorithm characteristics. A median of 72% challenge participants took part in the survey. According to our results, knowledge exchange was the primary incentive (70%) for participation, while the reception of prize money played only a minor role (16%). While a median of 80 working hours was spent on method development, a large portion of participants stated that they did not have enough time for method development (32%). 25% perceived the infrastructure to be a bottleneck. Overall, 94% of all solutions were deep learning-based. Of these, 84% were based on standard architectures. 43% of the respondents reported that the data samples (e.g., images) were too large to be processed at once. This was most commonly addressed by patch-based training (69%), downsampling (37%), and solving 3D analysis tasks as a series of 2D tasks. K-fold cross-validation on the training set was performed by only 37% of the participants and only 50% of the participants performed ensembling based on multiple identical models (61%) or heterogeneous models (39%). 48% of the respondents applied postprocessing steps.
Although deep learning prediction models have been successful in the discrimination of different classes, they can often suffer from poor calibration across challenging domains including healthcare. Moreover, the long-tail distribution poses great challenges in deep learning classification problems including clinical disease prediction. There are approaches proposed recently to calibrate deep prediction in computer vision, but there are no studies found to demonstrate how the representative models work in different challenging contexts. In this paper, we bridge the confidence calibration from computer vision to medical imaging with a comparative study of four high-impact calibration models. Our studies are conducted in different contexts (natural image classification and lung cancer risk estimation) including in balanced vs. imbalanced training sets and in computer vision vs. medical imaging. Our results support key findings: (1) We achieve new conclusions which are not studied under different learning contexts, e.g., combining two calibration models that both mitigate the overconfident prediction can lead to under-confident prediction, and simpler calibration models from the computer vision domain tend to be more generalizable to medical imaging. (2) We highlight the gap between general computer vision tasks and medical imaging prediction, e.g., calibration methods ideal for general computer vision tasks may in fact damage the calibration of medical imaging prediction. (3) We also reinforce previous conclusions in natural image classification settings. We believe that this study has merits to guide readers to choose calibration models and understand gaps between general computer vision and medical imaging domains.
Although machine learning (ML) has shown promise in numerous domains, there are concerns about generalizability to out-of-sample data. This is currently addressed by centrally sharing ample, and importantly diverse, data from multiple sites. However, such centralization is challenging to scale (or even not feasible) due to various limitations. Federated ML (FL) provides an alternative to train accurate and generalizable ML models, by only sharing numerical model updates. Here we present findings from the largest FL study to-date, involving data from 71 healthcare institutions across 6 continents, to generate an automatic tumor boundary detector for the rare disease of glioblastoma, utilizing the largest dataset of such patients ever used in the literature (25,256 MRI scans from 6,314 patients). We demonstrate a 33% improvement over a publicly trained model to delineate the surgically targetable tumor, and 23% improvement over the tumor's entire extent. We anticipate our study to: 1) enable more studies in healthcare informed by large and diverse data, ensuring meaningful results for rare diseases and underrepresented populations, 2) facilitate further quantitative analyses for glioblastoma via performance optimization of our consensus model for eventual public release, and 3) demonstrate the effectiveness of FL at such scale and task complexity as a paradigm shift for multi-site collaborations, alleviating the need for data sharing.
Image registration is a fundamental medical image analysis task, and a wide variety of approaches have been proposed. However, only a few studies have comprehensively compared medical image registration approaches on a wide range of clinically relevant tasks, in part because of the lack of availability of such diverse data. This limits the development of registration methods, the adoption of research advances into practice, and a fair benchmark across competing approaches. The Learn2Reg challenge addresses these limitations by providing a multi-task medical image registration benchmark for comprehensive characterisation of deformable registration algorithms. A continuous evaluation will be possible at https://learn2reg.grand-challenge.org. Learn2Reg covers a wide range of anatomies (brain, abdomen, and thorax), modalities (ultrasound, CT, MR), availability of annotations, as well as intra- and inter-patient registration evaluation. We established an easily accessible framework for training and validation of 3D registration methods, which enabled the compilation of results of over 65 individual method submissions from more than 20 unique teams. We used a complementary set of metrics, including robustness, accuracy, plausibility, and runtime, enabling unique insight into the current state-of-the-art of medical image registration. This paper describes datasets, tasks, evaluation methods and results of the challenge, and the results of further analysis of transferability to new datasets, the importance of label supervision, and resulting bias.
Vision Transformers (ViT)s have shown great performance in self-supervised learning of global and local representations that can be transferred to downstream applications. Inspired by these results, we introduce a novel self-supervised learning framework with tailored proxy tasks for medical image analysis. Specifically, we propose: (i) a new 3D transformer-based model, dubbed Swin UNEt TRansformers (Swin UNETR), with a hierarchical encoder for self-supervised pre-training; (ii) tailored proxy tasks for learning the underlying pattern of human anatomy. We demonstrate successful pre-training of the proposed model on 5,050 publicly available computed tomography (CT) images from various body organs. The effectiveness of our approach is validated by fine-tuning the pre-trained models on the Beyond the Cranial Vault (BTCV) Segmentation Challenge with 13 abdominal organs and segmentation tasks from the Medical Segmentation Decathlon (MSD) dataset. Our model is currently the state-of-the-art (i.e. ranked 1st) on the public test leaderboards of both MSD and BTCV datasets. Code: https://monai.io/research/swin-unetr
To better understand early brain growth patterns in health and disorder, it is critical to accurately segment infant brain magnetic resonance (MR) images into white matter (WM), gray matter (GM), and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Deep learning-based methods have achieved state-of-the-art performance; however, one of major limitations is that the learning-based methods may suffer from the multi-site issue, that is, the models trained on a dataset from one site may not be applicable to the datasets acquired from other sites with different imaging protocols/scanners. To promote methodological development in the community, iSeg-2019 challenge (http://iseg2019.web.unc.edu) provides a set of 6-month infant subjects from multiple sites with different protocols/scanners for the participating methods. Training/validation subjects are from UNC (MAP) and testing subjects are from UNC/UMN (BCP), Stanford University, and Emory University. By the time of writing, there are 30 automatic segmentation methods participating in iSeg-2019. We review the 8 top-ranked teams by detailing their pipelines/implementations, presenting experimental results and evaluating performance in terms of the whole brain, regions of interest, and gyral landmark curves. We also discuss their limitations and possible future directions for the multi-site issue. We hope that the multi-site dataset in iSeg-2019 and this review article will attract more researchers on the multi-site issue.
Data-driven Machine Learning has emerged as a promising approach for building accurate and robust statistical models from medical data, which is collected in huge volumes by modern healthcare systems. Existing medical data is not fully exploited by ML primarily because it sits in data silos and privacy concerns restrict access to this data. However, without access to sufficient data, ML will be prevented from reaching its full potential and, ultimately, from making the transition from research to clinical practice. This paper considers key factors contributing to this issue, explores how Federated Learning (FL) may provide a solution for the future of digital health and highlights the challenges and considerations that need to be addressed.