An improved computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) system is proposed for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) based on the fusion of anatomical (magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)) and functional (8
F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET)) multimodal images, and which helps to address the strong ambiguity or the uncertainty produced in brain images. The merit of this fusion is that it provides anatomical information for the accurate detection of pathological areas characterized in functional imaging by physiological abnormalities. First, quantification of brain tissue volumes is proposed based on a fusion scheme in three successive steps: modeling, fusion and decision. (1) Modeling which consists of three sub-steps: the initialization of the centroids of the tissue clusters by applying the Bias corrected Fuzzy C-Means (FCM) clustering algorithm. Then, the optimization of the initial partition is performed by running genetic algorithms. Finally, the creation of white matter (WM), gray matter (GM) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tissue maps by applying the Possibilistic FCM clustering algorithm. (2) Fusion using a possibilistic operator to merge the maps of the MRI and PET images highlighting redundancies and managing ambiguities. (3) Decision offering more representative anatomo-functional fusion images. Second, a support vector data description (SVDD) classifier is used that must reliably distinguish AD from normal aging and automatically detects outliers. The “divide and conquer” strategy is then used, which speeds up the SVDD process and reduces the load and cost of the calculating. The robustness of the tissue quantification process is proven against noise (20% level), partial volume effects and when inhomogeneities of spatial intensity are high. Thus, the superiority of the SVDD classifier over competing conventional systems is also demonstrated with the adoption of the 10-fold cross-validation approach for synthetic datasets (Alzheimer disease neuroimaging (ADNI) and Open Access Series of Imaging Studies (OASIS)) and real images. The percentage of classification in terms of accuracy, sensitivity, specificity and area under ROC curve was 93.65%, 90.08%, 92.75% and 97.3%; 91.46%, 92%, 91.78% and 96.7%; 85.09%, 86.41%, 84.92% and 94.6% in the case of the ADNI, OASIS and real images respectively.
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