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This paper presents a new approach to characterize subtle diffuse changes in multiple sclerosis (MS) using histograms derived from magnetization transfer ratio (MTR) images. Two major parts dominate our histogram analysis; (1) Classification of MTR histograms into control and MS subgroups; (2) Correlation with current disability, as measured by the EDSS scale (a measure of disease severity). Two data reduction schemes are used to reduce the complexity of the analysis: linear discriminant analysis (LDA) and principal component analysis (PCA). LDA is better for the classification of MTR histograms as it takes into account the between-class variation. By using LDA, the space of MTR histograms is transformed to the optimal discriminant space for a nearest mean classifier. In contrast, PCA is useful for correlation with current disability as it takes into account the variation within each subgroup in its process. A multiple regression analysis is used to evaluate the multiple correlation of those principal components with the degree of disability in MS. This is the first application of such classification and correlation techniques to magnetic resonance imaging histogram data. Our MTR histogram analysis approach give improved classification success and improved correlation compared with methods that use traditional histogram features such as peak height and peak location.
Date of Publication: April 2002