Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) caused by prenatal alcohol exposure can result in a series of cranio-facial anomalies, and behavioral and neurocognitive problems. Current diagnosis of FAS is typically done by identifying a set of facial characteristics, which are often obtained by manual examination. Anatomical landmark detection, which provides rich geometric information, is important to detect the presence of FAS associated facial anomalies. This imaging application is characterized by large variations in data appearance and limited availability of labeled data. Current deep learning-based heatmap regression methods designed for facial landmark detection in natural images assume availability of large datasets and are therefore not well-suited for this application. To address this restriction, we develop a new regularized transfer learning approach that exploits the knowledge of a network learned on large facial recognition datasets. In contrast to standard transfer learning which focuses on adjusting the pre-trained weights, the proposed learning approach regularizes the model behavior. It explicitly reuses the rich visual semantics of a domain-similar source model on the target task data as an additional supervisory signal for regularizing landmark detection optimization. Specifically, we develop four regularization constraints for the proposed transfer learning, including constraining the feature outputs from classification and intermediate layers, as well as matching activation attention maps in both spatial and channel levels. Experimental evaluation on a collected clinical imaging dataset demonstrate that the proposed approach can effectively improve model generalizability under limited training samples, and is advantageous to other approaches in the literature.

Original publication




Journal article


IEEE journal of biomedical and health informatics

Publication Date





1591 - 1601


Face, Humans, Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects, Pregnancy, Semantics, Female, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, Machine Learning