Support vector machine learning-based fMRI data group analysis

Neuroimage. 2007 Jul 15;36(4):1139-51. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.03.072. Epub 2007 Apr 27.


To explore the multivariate nature of fMRI data and to consider the inter-subject brain response discrepancies, a multivariate and brain response model-free method is fundamentally required. Two such methods are presented in this paper by integrating a machine learning algorithm, the support vector machine (SVM), and the random effect model. Without any brain response modeling, SVM was used to extract a whole brain spatial discriminance map (SDM), representing the brain response difference between the contrasted experimental conditions. Population inference was then obtained through the random effect analysis (RFX) or permutation testing (PMU) on the individual subjects' SDMs. Applied to arterial spin labeling (ASL) perfusion fMRI data, SDM RFX yielded lower false-positive rates in the null hypothesis test and higher detection sensitivity for synthetic activations with varying cluster size and activation strengths, compared to the univariate general linear model (GLM)-based RFX. For a sensory-motor ASL fMRI study, both SDM RFX and SDM PMU yielded similar activation patterns to GLM RFX and GLM PMU, respectively, but with higher t values and cluster extensions at the same significance level. Capitalizing on the absence of temporal noise correlation in ASL data, this study also incorporated PMU in the individual-level GLM and SVM analyses accompanied by group-level analysis through RFX or group-level PMU. Providing inferences on the probability of being activated or deactivated at each voxel, these individual-level PMU-based group analysis methods can be used to threshold the analysis results of GLM RFX, SDM RFX or SDM PMU.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Artifacts
  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Linear Models
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • ROC Curve
  • Software