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In NeuroImage. Clinical ; h5-index 0.0

White matter hyperintensities (WMHs) of presumed vascular origin are frequently observed in magnetic resonance images (MRIs) of the elderly. Detection and quantification of WMHs is important to help doctors make diagnoses and evaluate prognosis of their elderly patients, and once quantified, these can act as biomarkers in clinical research studies. Manual delineation of WMHs can be both time-consuming and inconsistent, hence, automatic segmentation methods are often preferred. However, fully automatic methods can be challenging to construct due to the variability in lesion load, placement of lesions, and voxel intensities. Several state-of-the-art lesion segmentation methods based on supervised Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) have been proposed. These approaches require manually delineated lesions for training the parameters of the network. Here we present a novel approach for WMH segmentation using a CNN trained in an unsupervised manner, by reconstructing multiple MRI sequences as weighted sums of segmentations of WMHs and tissues present in the images. After training, our method can be used to segment new images that are not part of the training set to provide fast and robust segmentation of WMHs in a matter of seconds per subject. Comparisons with state-of-the-art WMH segmentation methods evaluated on ground truth manual labels from two distinct data sets and six different scanners indicate that the proposed method works well at generating accurate WMH segmentations without the need for manual delineations.

Atlason Hans E, Love Askell, Sigurdsson Sigurdur, Gudnason Vilmundur, Ellingsen Lotta M


Autoencoder, Brain, CNN, Deep learning, Segmentation, White matter hyperintensity