We propose a mesh-based technique to aid in the classification of Alzheimer’s disease dementia (ADD) using mesh representations of the cortex and subcortical structures. Deep learning methods for classification tasks that utilize structural neuroimaging often require extensive learning parameters to optimize. Frequently, these approaches for automated medical diagnosis also lack visual interpretability for areas in the brain involved in making a diagnosis. This work: (a) analyzes brain shape using surface information of the cortex and subcortical structures, (b) proposes a residual learning framework for state-of-the-art graph convolutional networks which offer a significant reduction in learnable parameters, and (c) offers visual interpretability of the network via class-specific gradient information that localizes important regions of interest in our inputs. With our proposed method leveraging the use of cortical and subcortical surface information, we outperform other machine learning methods with a 96.35% testing accuracy for the ADD vs. healthy control problem. We confirm the validity of our model by observing its performance in a 25-trial Monte Carlo cross-validation. The generated visualization maps in our study show correspondences with current knowledge regarding the structural localization of pathological changes in the brain associated to dementia of the Alzheimer’s type.


Emanuel A. Azcona, Pierre Besson, Yunan Wu, Arjun Punjabi, Adam Martersteck, Amil Dravid, Todd B. Parrish, S. Kathleen Bandt, Aggelos K. Katsaggelos

For more details, link to full text: SpringerLink / arXiv preprint


Sample 3D Mesh Manifold Inputs to GCNs


Residual Block (ResBlock) Module Used in GCN


GCN Binary Classifier Architecture