Multiple RF classifier for the hippocampus segmentation: Method and validation on EADC-ADNI Harmonized Hippocampal Protocol

P. Inglese, N. Amoroso, M. Boccardi, M. Bocchetta, S. Bruno, A. Chincarini, R. Errico, G. B. Frisoni, R. Maglietta, A. Redolfi, F. Sensi, S. Tangaro, A. Tateo, R. Bellotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hippocampus has a key role in a number of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's Disease. Here we present a novel method for the automated segmentation of the hippocampus from structural magnetic resonance images (MRI), based on a combination of multiple classifiers. The method is validated on a cohort of 50 T1 MRI scans, comprehending healthy control, mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer's Disease subjects. The preliminary release of the EADC-ADNI Harmonized Protocol training labels is used as gold standard. The fully automated pipeline consists of a registration using an affine transformation, the extraction of a local bounding box, and the classification of each voxel in two classes (background and hippocampus). The classification is performed slice-by-slice along each of the three orthogonal directions of the 3D-MRI using a Random Forest (RF) classifier, followed by a fusion of the three full segmentations. Dice coefficients obtained by multiple RF (0.87 ± 0.03) are larger than those obtained by a single monolithic RF applied to the entire bounding box, and are comparable to state-of-the-art. A test on an external cohort of 50 T1 MRI scans shows that the presented method is robust and reliable. Additionally, a comparison of local changes in the morphology of the hippocampi between the three subject groups is performed. Our work showed that a multiple classification approach can be implemented for the segmentation for the measurement of volume and shape changes of the hippocampus with diagnostic purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1085-1091
Number of pages7
JournalPhysica Medica
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Hippocampus segmentation
  • Random forest classifier

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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