Many successful approaches in MR brain segmentation use supervised voxel classification, which requires manually labeled training images that are representative of the test images to segment. However, the performance of such methods often deteriorates if training and test images are acquired with different scanners or scanning parameters, since this leads to differences in feature representations between training and test data. In this paper we propose a feature-space transformation (FST) to overcome such differences in feature representations. The proposed FST is derived from unlabeled images of a subject that was scanned with both the source and the target scan protocol. After an affine registration, these images give a mapping between source and target voxels in the feature space. This mapping is then used to map all training samples to the feature representation of the test samples. We evaluated the benefit of the proposed FST on hippocampus segmentation. Experiments were performed on two datasets: one with relatively small differences between training and test images and one with large differences. In both cases, the FST significantly improved the performance compared to using only image normalization. Additionally, we showed that our FST can be used to improve the performance of a state-of-the-art patch-based-atlas-fusion technique in case of large differences between scanners.

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Keywords Classification, Domain adaptation, Hippocampus, MRI, Segmentation, Transfer learning
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Journal NeuroImage: Clinical
van Opbroek, A, Achterberg, H.C, Vernooij, M.W. (Meike W.), Ikram, M.A, & de Bruijne, M. (2018). Transfer learning by feature-space transformation: A method for Hippocampus segmentation across scanners. NeuroImage: Clinical, 20, 466–475. doi:10.1016/j.nicl.2018.08.005