Serag A, Wilkinson AG, Telford EJ, Pataky R, Sparrow SA, Anblagan D, Macnaught G, Semple SI and Boardman JP (2017) SEGMA: An Automatic SEGMentation Approach for Human Brain MRI Using Sliding Window and Random Forests. Front. Neuroinform. 11:2. doi: 10.3389/fninf.2017.00002
Quantitative volumes from brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) acquired across the life course may be useful for investigating long term effects of risk and resilience factors for brain development and healthy aging, and for understanding early life determinants of adult brain structure. Therefore, there is an increasing need for automated segmentation tools that can be applied to images acquired at different life stages. We developed an automatic segmentation method for human brain MRI, where a sliding window approach and a multi-class random forest classifier were applied to high-dimensional feature vectors for accurate segmentation. The method performed well on brain MRI data acquired from 179 individuals, analyzed in three age groups: newborns (38–42 weeks gestational age), children and adolescents (4–17 years) and adults (35–71 years). As the method can learn from partially labeled datasets, it can be used to segment large-scale datasets efficiently. It could also be applied to different populations and imaging modalities across the life course.