ADCoC: Adaptive Distribution Modeling Based Collaborative Clustering for Disentangling Disease Heterogeneity from Neuroimaging Data

Hangfan Liu, Michel J. Grothe, Tanweer Rashid, Miguel A. Labrador-Espinosa, Jon B. Toledo, Mohamad Habes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conventional clustering techniques for neuroimaging applications usually focus on capturing differences between given subjects, while neglecting arising differences between features and the potential bias caused by degraded data quality. In practice, collected neuroimaging data are often inevitably contaminated by noise, which may lead to errors in clustering and clinical interpretation. Additionally, most methods ignore the importance of feature grouping towards optimal clustering. In this paper, we exploit the underlying heterogeneous clusters of features to serve as weak supervision for improved clustering of subjects, which is achieved by simultaneously clustering subjects and features via nonnegative matrix tri-factorization. In order to suppress noise, we further introduce adaptive regularization based on coefficient distribution modeling. Particularly, unlike conventional sparsity regularization techniques that assume zero mean of the coefficients, we form the distributions using the data of interest so that they could better fit the non-negative coefficients. In this manner, the proposed approach is expected to be more effective and robust against noise. We compared the proposed method with standard techniques and recently published methods demonstrating superior clustering performance on synthetic data with known ground truth labels. Furthermore, when applying our proposed technique to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data from a cohort of patients with Parkinson's disease, we identified two stable and highly reproducible patient clusters characterized by frontal and posterior cortical/medial temporal atrophy patterns, respectively, which also showed corresponding differences in cognitive characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-318
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Emerging Topics in Computational Intelligence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Adaptation models
  • Clustering
  • Collaboration
  • Covariance matrices
  • Dictionaries
  • Diseases
  • feature selection
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • MRI
  • neuroimaging
  • Neuroimaging
  • Parkinsons disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Optimization
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Artificial Intelligence


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