Subject movement during the magnetic resonance examination is inevitable and causes not only image artefacts but also deteriorates the homogeneity of the main magnetic field (B0), which is a prerequisite for high quality data. Thus, characterization of changes to B0, e.g. induced by patient movement, is important for MR applications that are prone to B0 inhomogeneities. We propose a deep learning based method to predict such changes within the brain from the change of the head position to facilitate retrospective or even real-time correction. A 3D U-net was trained on in vivo brain 7T MRI data. The input consisted of B0 maps and anatomical images at an initial position, and anatomical images at a different head position (obtained by applying a rigid-body transformation on the initial anatomical image). The output consisted of B0 maps at the new head positions. We further fine-tuned the network weights to each subject by measuring a limited number of head positions of the given subject, and trained the U-net with these data. Our approach was compared to established dynamic B0 field mapping via interleaved navigators, which suffer from limited spatial resolution and the need for undesirable sequence modifications. Qualitative and quantitative comparison showed similar performance between an interleaved navigator-equivalent method and proposed method. We therefore conclude that it is feasible to predict B0 maps from rigid subject movement and, when combined with external tracking hardware, this information could be used to improve the quality of magnetic resonance acquisitions without the use of navigators.
Resting-state functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) is a powerful imaging technique for studying functional development of the brain in utero. However, unpredictable and excessive movement of fetuses have limited its clinical applicability. Previous studies have focused primarily on the accurate estimation of the motion parameters employing a single step 3D interpolation at each individual time frame to recover a motion-free 4D fMRI image. Using only information from a 3D spatial neighborhood neglects the temporal structure of fMRI and useful information from neighboring timepoints. Here, we propose a novel technique based on four dimensional iterative reconstruction of the motion scattered fMRI slices. Quantitative evaluation of the proposed method on a cohort of real clinical fetal fMRI data indicates improvement of reconstruction quality compared to the conventional 3D interpolation approaches.
In-utero fetal MRI is emerging as an important tool in the diagnosis and analysis of the developing human brain. Automatic segmentation of the developing fetal brain is a vital step in the quantitative analysis of prenatal neurodevelopment both in the research and clinical context. However, manual segmentation of cerebral structures is time-consuming and prone to error and inter-observer variability. Therefore, we organized the Fetal Tissue Annotation (FeTA) Challenge in 2021 in order to encourage the development of automatic segmentation algorithms on an international level. The challenge utilized FeTA Dataset, an open dataset of fetal brain MRI reconstructions segmented into seven different tissues (external cerebrospinal fluid, grey matter, white matter, ventricles, cerebellum, brainstem, deep grey matter). 20 international teams participated in this challenge, submitting a total of 21 algorithms for evaluation. In this paper, we provide a detailed analysis of the results from both a technical and clinical perspective. All participants relied on deep learning methods, mainly U-Nets, with some variability present in the network architecture, optimization, and image pre- and post-processing. The majority of teams used existing medical imaging deep learning frameworks. The main differences between the submissions were the fine tuning done during training, and the specific pre- and post-processing steps performed. The challenge results showed that almost all submissions performed similarly. Four of the top five teams used ensemble learning methods. However, one team's algorithm performed significantly superior to the other submissions, and consisted of an asymmetrical U-Net network architecture. This paper provides a first of its kind benchmark for future automatic multi-tissue segmentation algorithms for the developing human brain in utero.
* Results from FeTA Challenge 2021, held at MICCAI; Manuscript
Motion correction is an essential preprocessing step in functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) of the fetal brain with the aim to remove artifacts caused by fetal movement and maternal breathing and consequently to suppress erroneous signal correlations. Current motion correction approaches for fetal fMRI choose a single 3D volume from a specific acquisition timepoint with least motion artefacts as reference volume, and perform interpolation for the reconstruction of the motion corrected time series. The results can suffer, if no low-motion frame is available, and if reconstruction does not exploit any assumptions about the continuity of the fMRI signal. Here, we propose a novel framework, which estimates a high-resolution reference volume by using outlier-robust motion correction, and by utilizing Huber L2 regularization for intra-stack volumetric reconstruction of the motion-corrected fetal brain fMRI. We performed an extensive parameter study to investigate the effectiveness of motion estimation and present in this work benchmark metrics to quantify the effect of motion correction and regularised volumetric reconstruction approaches on functional connectivity computations. We demonstrate the proposed framework's ability to improve functional connectivity estimates, reproducibility and signal interpretability, which is clinically highly desirable for the establishment of prognostic noninvasive imaging biomarkers. The motion correction and volumetric reconstruction framework is made available as an open-source package of NiftyMIC.
Machine learning in medical imaging during clinical routine is impaired by changes in scanner protocols, hardware, or policies resulting in a heterogeneous set of acquisition settings. When training a deep learning model on an initial static training set, model performance and reliability suffer from changes of acquisition characteristics as data and targets may become inconsistent. Continual learning can help to adapt models to the changing environment by training on a continuous data stream. However, continual manual expert labelling of medical imaging requires substantial effort. Thus, ways to use labelling resources efficiently on a well chosen sub-set of new examples is necessary to render this strategy feasible. Here, we propose a method for continual active learning operating on a stream of medical images in a multi-scanner setting. The approach automatically recognizes shifts in image acquisition characteristics - new domains -, selects optimal examples for labelling and adapts training accordingly. Labelling is subject to a limited budget, resembling typical real world scenarios. To demonstrate generalizability, we evaluate the effectiveness of our method on three tasks: cardiac segmentation, lung nodule detection and brain age estimation. Results show that the proposed approach outperforms other active learning methods, while effectively counteracting catastrophic forgetting.
Resting-state functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) is a powerful imaging technique for studying functional development of the brain in utero. However, unpredictable and excessive movement of fetuses has limited clinical application since it causes substantial signal fluctuations which can systematically alter observed patterns of functional connectivity. Previous studies have focused on the accurate estimation of the motion parameters in case of large fetal head movement and used a 3D single step interpolation approach at each timepoint to recover motion-free fMRI images. This does not guarantee that the reconstructed image corresponds to the minimum error representation of fMRI time series given the acquired data. Here, we propose a novel technique based on four dimensional iterative reconstruction of the scattered slices acquired during fetal fMRI. The accuracy of the proposed method was quantitatively evaluated on a group of real clinical fMRI fetuses. The results indicate improvements of reconstruction quality compared to the conventional 3D interpolation approach.
* 5 pages, 3 figures. This work has been submitted to the IEEE for
possible publication. Copyright may be transferred without notice, after
which this version may no longer be accessible
In multi-center randomized clinical trials imaging data can be diverse due to acquisition technology or scanning protocols. Models predicting future outcome of patients are impaired by this data heterogeneity. Here, we propose a prediction method that can cope with a high number of different scanning sites and a low number of samples per site. We cluster sites into pseudo-domains based on visual appearance of scans, and train pseudo-domain specific models. Results show that they improve the prediction accuracy for steatosis after 48 weeks from imaging data acquired at an initial visit and 12-weeks follow-up in liver disease
The performance of deep neural networks typically increases with the number of training images. However, not all images have the same importance towards improved performance and robustness. In fetal brain MRI, abnormalities exacerbate the variability of the developing brain anatomy compared to non-pathological cases. A small number of abnormal cases, as is typically available in clinical datasets used for training, are unlikely to fairly represent the rich variability of abnormal developing brains. This leads machine learning systems trained by maximizing the average performance to be biased toward non-pathological cases. This problem was recently referred to as hidden stratification. To be suited for clinical use, automatic segmentation methods need to reliably achieve high-quality segmentation outcomes also for pathological cases. In this paper, we show that the state-of-the-art deep learning pipeline nnU-Net has difficulties to generalize to unseen abnormal cases. To mitigate this problem, we propose to train a deep neural network to minimize a percentile of the distribution of per-volume loss over the dataset. We show that this can be achieved by using Distributionally Robust Optimization (DRO). DRO automatically reweights the training samples with lower performance, encouraging nnU-Net to perform more consistently on all cases. We validated our approach using a dataset of 368 fetal brain T2w MRIs, including 124 MRIs of open spina bifida cases and 51 MRIs of cases with other severe abnormalities of brain development.
* Accepted at the MICCAI 2021 Perinatal, Preterm and Paediatric Image
Analysis (PIPPI) workshop
Imaging in clinical routine is subject to changing scanner protocols, hardware, or policies in a typically heterogeneous set of acquisition hardware. Accuracy and reliability of deep learning models suffer from those changes as data and targets become inconsistent with their initial static training set. Continual learning can adapt to a continuous data stream of a changing imaging environment. Here, we propose a method for continual active learning on a data stream of medical images. It recognizes shifts or additions of new imaging sources - domains -, adapts training accordingly, and selects optimal examples for labelling. Model training has to cope with a limited labelling budget, resembling typical real world scenarios. We demonstrate our method on T1-weighted magnetic resonance images from three different scanners with the task of brain age estimation. Results demonstrate that the proposed method outperforms naive active learning while requiring less manual labelling.
* Accepted for publication at the 27th international conference on
Information Processing in Medical Imaging (IPMI) 2021
Malignant melanoma (MM) is one of the deadliest types of skin cancer. Analysing dermatoscopic images plays an important role in the early detection of MM and other pigmented skin lesions. Among different computer-based methods, deep learning-based approaches and in particular convolutional neural networks have shown excellent classification and segmentation performances for dermatoscopic skin lesion images. These models can be trained end-to-end without requiring any hand-crafted features. However, the effect of using lesion segmentation information on classification performance has remained an open question. In this study, we explicitly investigated the impact of using skin lesion segmentation masks on the performance of dermatoscopic image classification. To do this, first, we developed a baseline classifier as the reference model without using any segmentation masks. Then, we used either manually or automatically created segmentation masks in both training and test phases in different scenarios and investigated the classification performances. Evaluated on the ISIC 2017 challenge dataset which contained two binary classification tasks (i.e. MM vs. all and seborrheic keratosis (SK) vs. all) and based on the derived area under the receiver operating characteristic curve scores, we observed four main outcomes. Our results show that 1) using segmentation masks did not significantly improve the MM classification performance in any scenario, 2) in one of the scenarios (using segmentation masks for dilated cropping), SK classification performance was significantly improved, 3) removing all background information by the segmentation masks significantly degraded the overall classification performance, and 4) in case of using the appropriate scenario (using segmentation for dilated cropping), there is no significant difference of using manually or automatically created segmentation masks.
* Accepted to the Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine journal