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Metabolic connectivity-based single subject classification by multi-regional linear approximation in the rat.

Neuroimage. 2021 Apr 5:118007. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118007. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33831550.

Authors/Editors: Grosch M, Beyer L, Lindner M, Kaiser L, Ahmadi SA, Stockbauer A, Bartenstein P, Dieterich M, Brendel M, Zwergal A, Ziegler S.
Publication Date: 2021


Metabolic connectivity patterns on the basis of [18F]-FDG positron emission tomography (PET) are used to depict complex cerebral network alterations in different neurological disorders and therefore may have the potential to support diagnostic decisions. In this study, we established a novel statistical classification method taking advantage of differential time-dependent states of whole-brain metabolic connectivity following unilateral labyrinthectomy (UL) in the rat and explored its classification accuracy.

The dataset consisted of repeated [18F]-FDG PET measurements at baseline and 1, 3, 7, and 15 days (= maximum of 5 classes) after UL with 17 rats per measurement day. Classification in different stages after UL was performed by determining connectivity patterns for the different classes by Pearson's correlation between uptake values in atlas-based segmented brain regions. Connections were fitted with a linear function, with which different thresholds on the correlation coefficient (r = [0.5, 0.85]) were investigated. Rats were classified by determining the congruence of their PET uptake pattern with the fitted connectivity patterns in the classes.

Overall, the classification accuracy with this method was 84.3% for 3 classes, 75.0% for 4 classes, and 54.1% for 5 classes and outperformed random classification as well as machine learning classification on the same dataset. The optimal classification thresholds of the correlation coefficient and distance-to-fit were found be to |r| > 0.65 and d = 4 when using Siegel's slope estimator for fitting.

This connectivity-based classification method can compete with machine learning classification and may have methodological advantages when applied to support PET-based diagnostic decisions in neurological network disorders (such as neurodegenerative syndromes).

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