Automatic Age Estimation and Majority Age Classification from Multi-Factorial MRI Data

Darko Stern, Christian Payer, Nicola Giuliani, Martin Urschler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Age estimation from radiologic data is an important topic both in clinical medicine as well as in forensic applications, where it is used to assess unknown chronological age or to discriminate minors from adults. In this work, we propose an automatic multi-factorial age estimation method based on MRI data of hand, clavicle and teeth to extend the maximal age range from up to 19 years, as commonly used for age assessment based on hand bones, to up to 25 years, when combined with clavicle bones and wisdom teeth. Fusing age-relevant information from all three anatomical sites, our method utilizes a deep convolutional neural network that is trained on a dataset of 322 subjects in the age range between 13 and 25 years, to achieve a mean absolute prediction error in regressing chronological age of 1.01 +/- 0.74 years. Furthermore, when used for majority age classification, we show that a classifier derived from thresholding our regression based predictor is better suited than a classifier directly trained with a classification loss, especially when taking into account that cases of minors being wrongly classified as adults need to be minimized. In conclusion, we overcome the limitations of the multi-factorial methods currently used in forensic practice, i.e., dependency on ionizing radiation, subjectivity in quantifying age-relevant information, and lack of an established approach to fuse this information from individual anatomical sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1392-1403
JournalIEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • age estimation
  • Bones
  • convolutional neural network
  • Estimation
  • Feature extraction
  • Forensics
  • Informatics
  • information fusion
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • majority age classification
  • multi-factorial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Health Information Management

Fields of Expertise

  • Information, Communication & Computing


  • BioTechMed-Graz

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