Ensemble sparse classification of Alzheimer's disease

Manhua Liu, Daoqiang Zhang, Dinggang Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

269 Citations (Scopus)


The high-dimensional pattern classification methods, e.g., support vector machines (SVM), have been widely investigated for analysis of structural and functional brain images (such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)) to assist the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) including its prodromal stage, i.e., mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Most existing classification methods extract features from neuroimaging data and then construct a single classifier to perform classification. However, due to noise and small sample size of neuroimaging data, it is challenging to train only a global classifier that can be robust enough to achieve good classification performance. In this paper, instead of building a single global classifier, we propose a local patch-based subspace ensemble method which builds multiple individual classifiers based on different subsets of local patches and then combines them for more accurate and robust classification. Specifically, to capture the local spatial consistency, each brain image is partitioned into a number of local patches and a subset of patches is randomly selected from the patch pool to build a weak classifier. Here, the sparse representation-based classifier (SRC) method, which has shown to be effective for classification of image data (e.g., face), is used to construct each weak classifier. Then, multiple weak classifiers are combined to make the final decision. We evaluate our method on 652 subjects (including 198 AD patients, 225 MCI and 229 normal controls) from Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) database using MR images. The experimental results show that our method achieves an accuracy of 90.8% and an area under the ROC curve (AUC) of 94.86% for AD classification and an accuracy of 87.85% and an AUC of 92.90% for MCI classification, respectively, demonstrating a very promising performance of our method compared with the state-of-the-art methods for AD/MCI classification using MR images.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1106-1116
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Apr 2

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by NIH grants EB006733 , EB008374 , EB009634 and MH088520 , and by the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) (no. 2010CB732505 ), NSFC grants (no. 61075010 , no. 61005024 , no. 60875030 ) and Medical and Engineering Foundation of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (no. YG2010MS74 ). Data collection and sharing for this project was funded by the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) (National Institutes of Health Grant U01 AG024904). ADNI is funded by the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and through generous contributions from the following: Abbott, AstraZeneca AB, Bayer Schering Pharma AG, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eisai Global Clinical Development, Elan Corporation, Genentech, GE Healthcare, GlaxoSmithKline, Innogenetics, Johnson and Johnson, Eli Lilly and Co., Medpace, Inc., Merck and Co., Inc., Novartis AG, Pfizer Inc., F. Hoffman-La Roche, Schering-Plough, Synarc, Inc., as well as non-profit partners the Alzheimer's Association and Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation, with participation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Private sector contributions to ADNI are facilitated by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health ( www.fnih.org ). The grantee organization is the Northern California Institute for Research and Education, and the study is coordinated by the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study at the University of California, San Diego. ADNI data are disseminated by the Laboratory for Neuroimaging at the University of California, Los Angeles.


  • AD diagnosis
  • Local patch
  • Random subspace ensemble
  • Sparse representation-based classifier (SRC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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