Hierarchical Nonlocal Residual Networks for Image Quality Assessment of Pediatric Diffusion MRI With Limited and Noisy Annotations

Siyuan Liu, Kim Han Thung, Weili Lin, Dinggang Shen, Pew Thian Yap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Fastand automated image qualityassessment (IQA) of diffusion MR images is crucial for making timely decisions for rescans. However, learning a model for this task is challenging as the number of annotated data is limited and the annotation labels might not always be correct. As a remedy, we will introduce in this paper an automatic image quality assessment (IQA)method based on hierarchical non-local residual networks for pediatric diffusion MR images. Our IQA is performed in three sequential stages, i.e., 1) slice-wise IQA, where a nonlocal residual network is first pre-trained to annotate each slice with an initial quality rating (i.e., pass/questionable/fail), which is subsequently refined via iterative semi-supervised learning and slice selftraining; 2) volume-wise IQA, which agglomerates the features extracted from the slices of a volume, and uses a nonlocal network to annotate the quality rating for each volume via iterative volume self-training; and 3) subjectwise IQA, which ensembles the volumetric IQA results to determine the overall image quality pertaining to a subject. Experimental results demonstrate that our method, trained using only samples ofmodest size, exhibits great generalizability, and is capable of conducting rapid hierarchical IQA with near-perfect accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3691-3702
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Nov

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 IEEE.


  • Image quality assessment
  • hierarchical nonlocal residual networks
  • self-training
  • semi-supervised learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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