Temporal Hierarchical Adaptive Texture CRF for Automatic Detection of Gadolinium-Enhancing Multiple Sclerosis Lesions in Brain MRI

IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2015 Jun;34(6):1227-41. doi: 10.1109/TMI.2014.2382561. Epub 2014 Dec 18.


We propose a conditional random field (CRF) based classifier for segmentation of small enhanced pathologies. Specifically, we develop a temporal hierarchical adaptive texture CRF (THAT-CRF) and apply it to the challenging problem of gad enhancing lesion segmentation in brain MRI of patients with multiple sclerosis. In this context, the presence of many nonlesion enhancements (such as blood vessels) renders the problem more difficult. In addition to voxel-wise features, the framework exploits multiple higher order textures to discriminate the true lesional enhancements from the pool of other enhancements. Since lesional enhancements show more variation over time as compared to the nonlesional ones, we incorporate temporal texture analysis in order to study the textures of enhanced candidates over time. The parameters of the THAT-CRF model are learned based on 2380 scans from a multi-center clinical trial. The effect of different components of the model is extensively evaluated on 120 scans from a separate multi-center clinical trial. The incorporation of the temporal textures results in a general decrease of the false discovery rate. Specifically, THAT-CRF achieves overall sensitivity of 95% along with false discovery rate of 20% and average false positive count of 0.5 lesions per scan. The sensitivity of the temporal method to the trained time interval is further investigated on five different intervals of 69 patients. Moreover, superior performance is achieved by the reviewed labelings of our model compared to the fully manual labeling when applied to the context of separating different treatment arms in a real clinical trial.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology
  • Gadolinium / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology
  • Radionuclide Imaging


  • Gadolinium