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In Brain communications

The ability to carry out instrumental activities of daily living, such as paying bills, remembering appointments and shopping alone decreases with age, yet there are remarkable individual differences in the rate of decline among older adults. Understanding variables associated with a decline in instrumental activities of daily living is critical to providing appropriate intervention to prolong independence. Prior research suggests that cognitive measures, neuroimaging and fluid-based biomarkers predict functional decline. However, a priori selection of variables can lead to the over-valuation of certain variables and exclusion of others that may be predictive. In this study, we used machine learning techniques to select a wide range of baseline variables that best predicted functional decline in two years in individuals from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative dataset. The sample included 398 individuals characterized as cognitively normal or mild cognitive impairment. Support vector machine classification algorithms were used to identify the most predictive modality from five different data modality types (demographics, structural MRI, fluorodeoxyglucose-PET, neurocognitive and genetic/fluid-based biomarkers). In addition, variable selection identified individual variables across all modalities that best predicted functional decline in a testing sample. Of the five modalities examined, neurocognitive measures demonstrated the best accuracy in predicting functional decline (accuracy = 74.2%; area under the curve = 0.77), followed by fluorodeoxyglucose-PET (accuracy = 70.8%; area under the curve = 0.66). The individual variables with the greatest discriminatory ability for predicting functional decline included partner report of language in the Everyday Cognition questionnaire, the ADAS13, and activity of the left angular gyrus using fluorodeoxyglucose-PET. These three variables collectively explained 32% of the total variance in functional decline. Taken together, the machine learning model identified novel biomarkers that may be involved in the processing, retrieval, and conceptual integration of semantic information and which predict functional decline two years after assessment. These findings may be used to explore the clinical utility of the Everyday Cognition as a non-invasive, cost and time effective tool to predict future functional decline.

Valerio Kate E, Prieto Sarah, Hasselbach Alexander N, Moody Jena N, Hayes Scott M, Hayes Jasmeet P


ADNI, IADL, angular gyrus, everyday cognition, machine learning