- [pdf] [supp] [arXiv]
Prototype Learning for Explainable Brain Age Prediction
The lack of explainability of deep learning models limits the adoption of such models in clinical practice. Prototype-based models can provide inherent explainable predictions, but these have predominantly been designed for classification tasks, despite many important tasks in medical imaging being continuous regression problems. Therefore, in this work, we present ExPeRT: an explainable prototype-based model specifically designed for regression tasks. Our proposed model makes a sample prediction from the distances to a set of learned prototypes in latent space, using a weighted mean of prototype labels. The distances in latent space are regularized to be relative to label differences, and each of the prototypes can be visualized as a sample from the training set. The image-level distances are further constructed from patch-level distances, in which the patches of both images are structurally matched using optimal transport. This thus provides an example-based explanation with patch-level detail at inference time. We demonstrate our proposed model for brain age prediction on two imaging datasets: adult MR and fetal ultrasound. Our approach achieved state-of-the-art prediction performance while providing insight into the model's reasoning process.