The EADC-ADNI harmonized protocol for hippocampal segmentation: A validation study

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Recently, a group of major international experts have completed a comprehensive effort to efficiently define a harmonized protocol for manual hippocampal segmentation that is optimized for Alzheimer's research (known as the EADC-ADNI Harmonized Protocol (the HarP)). This study compares the HarP with one of the widely used hippocampal segmentation protocols (Pruessner, 2000), based on a single automatic segmentation method trained separately with libraries made from each manual segmentation protocol. The automatic segmentation conformity with the corresponding manual segmentation and the ability to capture Alzheimer's disease related hippocampal atrophy on large datasets are measured to compare the manual protocols. In addition to the possibility of harmonizing different procedures of hippocampal segmentation, our results show that using the HarP, the automatic segmentation conformity with manual segmentation is also preserved (Dice's Symbol for Pruessner and HarP respectively (p=0.726 for common training library)). Furthermore, the results show that the HarP can capture the Alzheimer's disease related hippocampal volume differences in large datasets. The HarP-derived segmentation shows large effect size (Cohen's d = 1.5883) in separating Alzheimer's Disease patients versus normal controls (AD:NC) and medium effect size (Cohen's d = 0.5747) in separating stable versus progressive Mild Cognitively Impaired patients (sMCI:pMCI). Furthermore, the area under the ROC curve for a LDA classifier trained based on age, sex and HarP-derived hippocampal volume is 0.8858 for AD:NC, and for 0.6677 sMCI:pMCI. These results show that the harmonized protocol-derived labels can be widely used in clinic and research, as a sensitive and accurate way of delineating the hippocampus.

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