Joint Classification and Regression via Deep Multi-Task Multi-Channel Learning for Alzheimer's Disease Diagnosis

IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2019 May;66(5):1195-1206. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2018.2869989. Epub 2018 Sep 12.


In the field of computer-aided Alzheimer's disease (AD) diagnosis, jointly identifying brain diseases and predicting clinical scores using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have attracted increasing attention since these two tasks are highly correlated. Most of existing joint learning approaches require hand-crafted feature representations for MR images. Since hand-crafted features of MRI and classification/regression models may not coordinate well with each other, conventional methods may lead to sub-optimal learning performance. Also, demographic information (e.g., age, gender, and education) of subjects may also be related to brain status, and thus can help improve the diagnostic performance. However, conventional joint learning methods seldom incorporate such demographic information into the learning models. To this end, we propose a deep multi-task multi-channel learning (DM 2L) framework for simultaneous brain disease classification and clinical score regression, using MRI data and demographic information of subjects. Specifically, we first identify the discriminative anatomical landmarks from MR images in a data-driven manner, and then extract multiple image patches around these detected landmarks. We then propose a deep multi-task multi-channel convolutional neural network for joint classification and regression. Our DM 2L framework can not only automatically learn discriminative features for MR images, but also explicitly incorporate the demographic information of subjects into the learning process. We evaluate the proposed method on four large multi-center cohorts with 1984 subjects, and the experimental results demonstrate that DM 2L is superior to several state-of-the-art joint learning methods in both the tasks of disease classification and clinical score regression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms
  • Alzheimer Disease / classification*
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Anatomic Landmarks / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Deep Learning*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male