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In Human brain mapping

Although a large number of case-control statistical and machine learning studies have been conducted to investigate structural brain changes in schizophrenia, how best to measure and characterize structural abnormalities for use in classification algorithms remains an open question. In the current study, a convolutional 3D autoencoder specifically designed for discretized volumes was constructed and trained with segmented brains from 477 healthy individuals. A cohort containing 158 first-episode schizophrenia patients and 166 matched controls was fed into the trained autoencoder to generate auto-encoded morphological patterns. A classifier discriminating schizophrenia patients from healthy controls was built using 80% of the samples in this cohort by automated machine learning and validated on the remaining 20% of the samples, and this classifier was further validated on another independent cohort containing 77 first-episode schizophrenia patients and 58 matched controls acquired at a different resolution. This specially designed autoencoder allowed a satisfactory recovery of the input. With the same feature dimension, the classifier trained with autoencoded features outperformed the classifier trained with conventional morphological features by about 10% points, achieving 73.44% accuracy and 0.8 AUC on the internal validation set and 71.85% accuracy and 0.77 AUC on the external validation set. The use of features automatically learned from the segmented brain can better identify schizophrenia patients from healthy controls, but there is still a need for further improvements to establish a clinical diagnostic marker. However, with a limited sample size, the method proposed in the current study shed insight into the application of deep learning in psychiatric disorders.

Sun Huaiqiang, Luo Guoting, Lui Su, Huang Xiaoqi, Sweeney John, Gong Qiyong


autoencoder, classification, deep learning, feature engineering, machine learning, schizophrenia