skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on February 17, 2023

Title: Statistical Atlases and Automatic Labeling Strategies to Accelerate the Analysis of Social Insect Brain Evolution
Current methods used to quantify brain size and compartmental scaling relationships in studies of social insect brain evolution involve manual annotations of images from histological samples, confocal microscopy or other sources. This process is susceptible to human bias and error and requires time-consuming effort by expert annotators. Standardized brain atlases, constructed through 3D registration and automatic segmentation, surmount these issues while increasing throughput to robustly sample diverse morphological and behavioral phenotypes. Here we design and evaluate three strategies to construct statistical brain atlases, or templates, using ants as a model taxon. The first technique creates a template by registering multiple brains of the same species. Brain regions are manually annotated on the template, and the labels are transformed back to each individual brain to obtain an automatic annotation, or to any other brain aligned with the template. The second strategy also creates a template from multiple brain images but obtains labels as a consensus from multiple manual annotations of individual brains comprising the template. The third technique is based on a template comprising brains from multiple species and the consensus of their labels. We used volume similarity as a metric to evaluate the automatic segmentation produced by each method against more » the inter- and intra-individual variability of human expert annotators. We found that automatic and manual methods are equivalent in volume accuracy, making the template technique an extraordinary tool to accelerate data collection and reduce human bias in the study of the evolutionary neurobiology of ants and other insects. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1953393
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10318558
Journal Name:
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Volume:
9
ISSN:
2296-701X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. The human brain contains billions of cells called neurons that rapidly carry information from one part of the brain to another. Progress in medical research and healthcare is hindered by the difficulty in understanding precisely which neurons are active at any given time. New brain imaging techniques and genetic tools allow researchers to track the activity of thousands of neurons in living animals over many months. However, these experiments produce large volumes of data that researchers currently have to analyze manually, which can take a long time and generate irreproducible results. There is a need to develop new computational tools to analyze such data. The new tools should be able to operate on standard computers rather than just specialist equipment as this would limit the use of the solutions to particularly well-funded research teams. Ideally, the tools should also be able to operate in real-time as several experimental and therapeutic scenarios, like the control of robotic limbs, require this. To address this need, Giovannucci et al. developed a new software package called CaImAn to analyze brain images on a large scale. Firstly, the team developed algorithms that are suitable to analyze large sets of data on laptops and other standardmore »computing equipment. These algorithms were then adapted to operate online in real-time. To test how well the new software performs against manual analysis by human researchers, Giovannucci et al. asked several trained human annotators to identify active neurons that were round or donut-shaped in several sets of imaging data from mouse brains. Each set of data was independently analyzed by three or four researchers who then discussed any neurons they disagreed on to generate a ‘consensus annotation’. Giovannucci et al. then used CaImAn to analyze the same sets of data and compared the results to the consensus annotations. This demonstrated that CaImAn is nearly as good as human researchers at identifying active neurons in brain images. CaImAn provides a quicker method to analyze large sets of brain imaging data and is currently used by over a hundred laboratories across the world. The software is open source, meaning that it is freely-available and that users are encouraged to customize it and collaborate with other users to develop it further.« less
  2. Obeid, Iyad ; Selesnick, Ivan ; Picone, Joseph (Ed.)
    The Temple University Hospital Seizure Detection Corpus (TUSZ) [1] has been in distribution since April 2017. It is a subset of the TUH EEG Corpus (TUEG) [2] and the most frequently requested corpus from our 3,000+ subscribers. It was recently featured as the challenge task in the Neureka 2020 Epilepsy Challenge [3]. A summary of the development of the corpus is shown below in Table 1. The TUSZ Corpus is a fully annotated corpus, which means every seizure event that occurs within its files has been annotated. The data is selected from TUEG using a screening process that identifies files most likely to contain seizures [1]. Approximately 7% of the TUEG data contains a seizure event, so it is important we triage TUEG for high yield data. One hour of EEG data requires approximately one hour of human labor to complete annotation using the pipeline described below, so it is important from a financial standpoint that we accurately triage data. A summary of the labels being used to annotate the data is shown in Table 2. Certain standards are put into place to optimize the annotation process while not sacrificing consistency. Due to the nature of EEG recordings, some recordsmore »start off with a segment of calibration. This portion of the EEG is instantly recognizable and transitions from what resembles lead artifact to a flat line on all the channels. For the sake of seizure annotation, the calibration is ignored, and no time is wasted on it. During the identification of seizure events, a hard “3 second rule” is used to determine whether two events should be combined into a single larger event. This greatly reduces the time that it takes to annotate a file with multiple events occurring in succession. In addition to the required minimum 3 second gap between seizures, part of our standard dictates that no seizure less than 3 seconds be annotated. Although there is no universally accepted definition for how long a seizure must be, we find that it is difficult to discern with confidence between burst suppression or other morphologically similar impressions when the event is only a couple seconds long. This is due to several reasons, the most notable being the lack of evolution which is oftentimes crucial for the determination of a seizure. After the EEG files have been triaged, a team of annotators at NEDC is provided with the files to begin data annotation. An example of an annotation is shown in Figure 1. A summary of the workflow for our annotation process is shown in Figure 2. Several passes are performed over the data to ensure the annotations are accurate. Each file undergoes three passes to ensure that no seizures were missed or misidentified. The first pass of TUSZ involves identifying which files contain seizures and annotating them using our annotation tool. The time it takes to fully annotate a file can vary drastically depending on the specific characteristics of each file; however, on average a file containing multiple seizures takes 7 minutes to fully annotate. This includes the time that it takes to read the patient report as well as traverse through the entire file. Once an event has been identified, the start and stop time for the seizure is stored in our annotation tool. This is done on a channel by channel basis resulting in an accurate representation of the seizure spreading across different parts of the brain. Files that do not contain any seizures take approximately 3 minutes to complete. Even though there is no annotation being made, the file is still carefully examined to make sure that nothing was overlooked. In addition to solely scrolling through a file from start to finish, a file is often examined through different lenses. Depending on the situation, low pass filters are used, as well as increasing the amplitude of certain channels. These techniques are never used in isolation and are meant to further increase our confidence that nothing was missed. Once each file in a given set has been looked at once, the annotators start the review process. The reviewer checks a file and comments any changes that they recommend. This takes about 3 minutes per seizure containing file, which is significantly less time than the first pass. After each file has been commented on, the third pass commences. This step takes about 5 minutes per seizure file and requires the reviewer to accept or reject the changes that the second reviewer suggested. Since tangible changes are made to the annotation using the annotation tool, this step takes a bit longer than the previous one. Assuming 18% of the files contain seizures, a set of 1,000 files takes roughly 127 work hours to annotate. Before an annotator contributes to the data interpretation pipeline, they are trained for several weeks on previous datasets. A new annotator is able to be trained using data that resembles what they would see under normal circumstances. An additional benefit of using released data to train is that it serves as a means of constantly checking our work. If a trainee stumbles across an event that was not previously annotated, it is promptly added, and the data release is updated. It takes about three months to train an annotator to a point where their annotations can be trusted. Even though we carefully screen potential annotators during the hiring process, only about 25% of the annotators we hire survive more than one year doing this work. To ensure that the annotators are consistent in their annotations, the team conducts an interrater agreement evaluation periodically to ensure that there is a consensus within the team. The annotation standards are discussed in Ochal et al. [4]. An extended discussion of interrater agreement can be found in Shah et al. [5]. The most recent release of TUSZ, v1.5.2, represents our efforts to review the quality of the annotations for two upcoming challenges we hosted: an internal deep learning challenge at IBM [6] and the Neureka 2020 Epilepsy Challenge [3]. One of the biggest changes that was made to the annotations was the imposition of a stricter standard for determining the start and stop time of a seizure. Although evolution is still included in the annotations, the start times were altered to start when the spike-wave pattern becomes distinct as opposed to merely when the signal starts to shift from background. This cuts down on background that was mislabeled as a seizure. For seizure end times, all post ictal slowing that was included was removed. The recent release of v1.5.2 did not include any additional data files. Two EEG files had been added because, originally, they were corrupted in v1.5.1 but were able to be retrieved and added for the latest release. The progression from v1.5.0 to v1.5.1 and later to v1.5.2, included the re-annotation of all of the EEG files in order to develop a confident dataset regarding seizure identification. Starting with v1.4.0, we have also developed a blind evaluation set that is withheld for use in competitions. The annotation team is currently working on the next release for TUSZ, v1.6.0, which is expected to occur in August 2020. It will include new data from 2016 to mid-2019. This release will contain 2,296 files from 2016 as well as several thousand files representing the remaining data through mid-2019. In addition to files that were obtained with our standard triaging process, a part of this release consists of EEG files that do not have associated patient reports. Since actual seizure events are in short supply, we are mining a large chunk of data for which we have EEG recordings but no reports. Some of this data contains interesting seizure events collected during long-term EEG sessions or data collected from patients with a history of frequent seizures. It is being mined to increase the number of files in the corpus that have at least one seizure event. We expect v1.6.0 to be released before IEEE SPMB 2020. The TUAR Corpus is an open-source database that is currently available for use by any registered member of our consortium. To register and receive access, please follow the instructions provided at this web page: https://www.isip.piconepress.com/projects/tuh_eeg/html/downloads.shtml. The data is located here: https://www.isip.piconepress.com/projects/tuh_eeg/downloads/tuh_eeg_artifact/v2.0.0/.« less
  3. The need for manual and detailed annotations limits the applicability of supervised deep learning algorithms in medical image analyses, specifically in the field of pathology. Semi-supervised learning (SSL) provides an effective way for leveraging unlabeled data to relieve the heavy reliance on the amount of labeled samples when training a model. Although SSL has shown good performance, the performance of recent state-of-the-art SSL methods on pathology images is still under study. The problem for selecting the most optimal data to label for SSL is not fully explored. To tackle this challenge, we propose a semi-supervised active learning framework with a region-based selection criterion. This framework iteratively selects regions for an-notation query to quickly expand the diversity and volume of the labeled set. We evaluate our framework on a grey-matter/white-matter segmentation problem using gigapixel pathology images from autopsied human brain tissues. With only 0.1% regions labeled, our proposed algorithm can reach a competitive IoU score compared to fully-supervised learning and outperform the current state-of-the-art SSL by more than 10% of IoU score and DICE coefficient.
  4. Human brain size nearly quadrupled in the six million years since Homo last shared a common ancestor with chimpanzees, but human brains are thought to have decreased in volume since the end of the last Ice Age. The timing and reason for this decrease is enigmatic. Here we use change-point analysis to estimate the timing of changes in the rate of hominin brain evolution. We find that hominin brains experienced positive rate changes at 2.1 and 1.5 million years ago, coincident with the early evolution of Homo and technological innovations evident in the archeological record. But we also find that human brain size reduction was surprisingly recent, occurring in the last 3,000 years. Our dating does not support hypotheses concerning brain size reduction as a by-product of body size reduction, a result of a shift to an agricultural diet, or a consequence of self-domestication. We suggest our analysis supports the hypothesis that the recent decrease in brain size may instead result from the externalization of knowledge and advantages of group-level decision-making due in part to the advent of social systems of distributed cognition and the storage and sharing of information. Humans live in social groups in which multiple brains contributemore »to the emergence of collective intelligence. Although difficult to study in the deep history of Homo , the impacts of group size, social organization, collective intelligence and other potential selective forces on brain evolution can be elucidated using ants as models. The remarkable ecological diversity of ants and their species richness encompasses forms convergent in aspects of human sociality, including large group size, agrarian life histories, division of labor, and collective cognition. Ants provide a wide range of social systems to generate and test hypotheses concerning brain size enlargement or reduction and aid in interpreting patterns of brain evolution identified in humans. Although humans and ants represent very different routes in social and cognitive evolution, the insights ants offer can broadly inform us of the selective forces that influence brain size.« less
  5. Abstract Recent advances in brain clearing and imaging have made it possible to image entire mammalian brains at sub-micron resolution. These images offer the potential to assemble brain-wide atlases of neuron morphology, but manual neuron reconstruction remains a bottleneck. Several automatic reconstruction algorithms exist, but most focus on single neuron images. In this paper, we present a probabilistic reconstruction method, ViterBrain, which combines a hidden Markov state process that encodes neuron geometry with a random field appearance model of neuron fluorescence. ViterBrain utilizes dynamic programming to compute the global maximizer of what we call the most probable neuron path. We applied our algorithm to imperfect image segmentations, and showed that it can follow axons in the presence of noise or nearby neurons. We also provide an interactive framework where users can trace neurons by fixing start and endpoints. ViterBrain is available in our open-source Python package .