Content-based image retrieval (CBIR) offers the potential to identify similar case histories, understand rare disorders, and eventually, improve patient care. Recent advances in database capacity, algorithm efficiency, and deep Convolutional Neural Networks (dCNN), a machine learning technique, have enabled great CBIR success for general photographic images. Here, we investigate applying the leading ImageNet CBIR technique to clinically acquired medical images captured by the Vanderbilt Medical Center. Briefly, we (1) constructed a dCNN with four hidden layers, reducing dimensionality of an input scaled to 128×128 to an output encoded layer of 4×384, (2) trained the network using back-propagation 1 million random magnetic resonance (MR) and computed tomography (CT) images, (3) labeled an independent set of 2100 images, and (4) evaluated classifiers on the projection of the labeled images into manifold space. Quantitative results were disappointing (averaging a true positive rate of only 20%); however, the data suggest that improvements would be possible with more evenly distributed sampling across labels and potential re-grouping of label structures. This prelimainry effort at automated classification of medical images with ImageNet is promising, but shows that more work is needed beyond direct adaptation of existing techniques.
Keywords: content based image retrieval; deep convolutional neural networks; medical images; unsupervised learning.