This paper presents a novel method for the automated diagnosis of the degenerative intervertebral disc disease in midsagittal MR images. The approach is based on combining distinct disc features under a machine learning framework. The discs in the lumbar MR images are first localized and segmented. Then, intensity, shape, context, and texture features of the discs are extracted with various techniques. A Support Vector Machine classifier is applied to classify the discs as normal or degenerated. The method is tested and validated on a clinical lumbar spine dataset containing 102 subjects and the results are comparable to the state of the art. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.