Hierarchical Conditional Random Fields for Outlier Detection: An Application to Detecting Epileptogenic Cortical Malformations


Bilal Ahmed, Thomas Thesen, Karen Blackmon, Yijun Zhao, Orrin Devinsky, Ruben Kuzniecky, Carla Brodley ;
Proceedings of the 31st International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 32(2):1080-1088, 2014.


We cast the problem of detecting and isolating regions of abnormal cortical tissue in the MRIs of epilepsy patients in an image segmentation framework. Employing a multiscale approach we divide the surface images into segments of different sizes and then classify each segment as being an outlier, by comparing it to the same region across controls. The final classification is obtained by fusing the outlier probabilities obtained at multiple scales using a tree-structured hierarchical conditional random field (HCRF). The proposed method correctly detects abnormal regions in 90% of patients whose abnormality was detected via routine visual inspection of their clinical MRI. More importantly, it detects abnormalities in 80% of patients whose abnormality escaped visual inspection by expert radiologists.

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