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DSouza, Adora M.; Abidin, Anas Z.; Schifitto, Giovanni and Wismüller, Axel (2019): A multivoxel pattern analysis framework with mutual connectivity analysis investigating changes in resting state connectivity in patients with HIV associated neurocognitve disorder. In: Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Vol. 62: pp. 121-128

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Functional MRI (fMRI) quantifies brain activity non-invasively by measuring the blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) response to neuronal activity. It was recently demonstrated, on realistic fMRI simulations, that nonlinear connectivity approaches, such as Mutual Connectivity Analysis with Local Models (MCA-LM), are better suited for extracting connectivity measures than conventional techniques of cross-correlating time-series pairs. In this work, we investigate the application of MCA-LM in extracting meaningful connectivity measures aiding in distinguishing healthy controls from individuals presenting with symptoms of HIV Associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND), which occurs as a result of HIV infection of the central nervous system. The pairwise connectivity measures provide a high-dimensional representation of connectivity profiles for subjects and are used as features for classification. We adopt feature selection (FS) techniques reducing the number of redundant and noisy features, while also controlling the complexity of the classifiers. We investigate three FS techniques: 1) Kendall's tau, 2) Information Gain Attribute selection 3) ReliefF and two classifiers:1) AdaBoost and 2) Random Forests. Our results demonstrate that MCA-LM consistently outperforms correlation in terms of Area under the Receiver Operating Characteristic Curve and accuracy. Improved performance with MCA-LM suggests that such a nonlinear approach is better at capturing meaningful connectivity relationships between brain regions. This demonstrates potential for developing novel neuroimaging-derived biomarkers for HAND. Furthermore, FS helps identify connections between anatomical regions that are affected by HAND. In this work, we show that the regions of the basal ganglia and frontal cortex, which are known to be affected by HAND according to current literature, are identified as most discriminative.

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