Deep learning for the prediction of type 2 diabetes mellitus from neck-to-knee Dixon MRI in the UK biobank


Rationale and objectives: We evaluate the automatic identification of type 2 diabetes from neck-to-knee, two-point Dixon MRI scans with 3D convolutional neural networks on a large, population-based dataset. To this end, we assess the best combination of MRI contrasts and stations for diabetes prediction, and the benefit of integrating risk factors.

Materials and methods: Subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus have been identified in the prospective UK Biobank Imaging study, and a matched control sample has been created to avoid confounding bias. Five-fold cross-validation is used for the evaluation. All scans from the two-point Dixon neck-to-knee sequence have been standardized. A neural network that considers multi-channel MRI input was developed and integrates clinical information in tabular format. An ensemble strategy is used to combine multi-station MRI predictions. A subset with quantitative fat measurements is identified for comparison to prior approaches.

Results: MRI scans from 3406 subjects (mean age, 66.2 years ± 7.1 [standard deviation]; 1128 women) were analyzed with 1703 diabetics. A balanced accuracy of 78.7%, AUC ROC of 0.872, and an average precision of 0.878 was obtained for the classification of diabetes. The ensemble over multiple Dixon MRI stations yields better performance than selecting the individually best station. Moreover, combining fat and water scans as multi-channel inputs to the networks improves upon just using single contrasts as input. Integrating clinical information about known risk factors of diabetes in the network boosts the performance across all stations and the ensemble. The neural network achieved superior results compared to the prediction based on quantitative MRI measurements.

Conclusions: The developed deep learning model accurately predicted type 2 diabetes from neck-to-knee two-point Dixon MRI scans.