Conventional k-Nearest-Neighbor (kNN) classification, which has been successfully applied to classify brain tissue in MR data, requires training on manually labeled subjects. This manual labeling is a laborious and time-consuming procedure. In this work, a new fully automated brain tissue classification procedure is presented, in which kNN training is automated. This is achieved by non-rigidly registering the MR data with a tissue probability atlas to automatically select training samples, followed by a post-processing step to keep the most reliable samples. The accuracy of the new method was compared to rigid registration-based training and to conventional kNN-based segmentation using training on manually labeled subjects for segmenting gray matter (GM), white matter (WM) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in 12 data sets. Furthermore, for all classification methods, the performance was assessed when varying the free parameters. Finally, the robustness of the fully automated procedure was evaluated on 59 subjects. The automated training method using non-rigid registration with a tissue probability atlas was significantly more accurate than rigid registration. For both automated training using non-rigid registration and for the manually trained kNN classifier, the difference with the manual labeling by observers was not significantly larger than inter-observer variability for all tissue types. From the robustness study, it was clear that, given an appropriate brain atlas and optimal parameters, our new fully automated, non-rigid registration-based method gives accurate and robust segmentation results. A similarity index was used for comparison with manually trained kNN. The similarity indices were 0.93, 0.92 and 0.92, for CSF, GM and WM, respectively. It can be concluded that our fully automated method using non-rigid registration may replace manual segmentation, and thus that automated brain tissue segmentation without laborious manual training is feasible.

, , , ,,
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Vrooman, H., Cocosco, C., van der Lijn, F., Stokking, R., Ikram, A., Vernooij, M., … Niessen, W. (2007). Multi-spectral brain tissue segmentation using automatically trained k-Nearest-Neighbor classification. NeuroImage, 37(1), 71–81. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.05.018