Objective To assess the classification performance between Parkinson's disease (PD) and normal control (NC) when semi-quantitative indicators and shape features obtained on dopamine transporter (DAT) single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) are combined as a feature of machine learning (ML). Methods A total of 100 cases of both PD and normal control (NC) from the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative database were evaluated. A summed image was generated and regions of interests were set to the left and right striata. Area, equivalent diameter, major axis length, minor axis length, perimeter and circularity were calculated as shape features. Striatum binding ratios (SBRputamen and SBRcaudate) were used as comparison features. The classification performance of the PD and NC groups according to receiver operating characteristic analysis of the shape features was compared in terms of SBRs. Furthermore, we compared the classification performance of ML when shape features or SBRs were used alone and in combination. Results The shape features (except minor axis length) and SBRs indicated significant differences between the NC and PD groups (p < 0.05). The top five areas under the curves (AUC) were as follows: circularity (0.972), SBRputamen (0.972), major axis length (0.945), SBRcaudate (0.928) and perimeter (0.896). When classification was done using ML, AUC was as follows: circularity and SBRs (0.995), circularity alone (0.990), and SBRs (0.973). The classification performance was significantly improved by combining SBRs and circularity than by SBRs alone (p = 0.018). Conclusion We found that the circularity obtained from DAT-SPECT images could help in distinguishing NC and PD. Furthermore, the classification performance of ML was significantly improved using circularity in SBRs together.
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