Complexity in mood disorder diagnosis: fMRI connectivity networks predicted medication-class of response in complex patients

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2018 Nov;138(5):472-482. doi: 10.1111/acps.12945. Epub 2018 Aug 6.


Objective: This study determined the clinical utility of an fMRI classification algorithm predicting medication-class of response in patients with challenging mood diagnoses.

Methods: Ninety-nine 16-27-year-olds underwent resting state fMRI scans in three groups-BD, MDD and healthy controls. A predictive algorithm was trained and cross-validated on the known-diagnosis patients using maximally spatially independent components (ICs), constructing a similarity matrix among subjects, partitioning the matrix in kernel space and optimizing support vector machine classifiers and IC combinations. This classifier was also applied to each of 12 new individual patients with unclear mood disorder diagnoses.

Results: Classification within the known-diagnosis group was approximately 92.4% accurate. The five maximally contributory ICs were identified. Applied to the complicated patients, the algorithm diagnosis was consistent with optimal medication-class of response to sustained recovery in 11 of 12 cases (i.e., almost 92% accuracy).

Conclusion: This classification algorithm performed well for the know-diagnosis but also predicted medication-class of response in difficult-to-diagnose patients. Further research can enhance this approach and extend these findings to be more clinically accessible.

Keywords: bipolar disorder; differential diagnosis; functional neuroimaging; machine learning; mood disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bipolar Disorder / classification
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnostic imaging*
  • Connectome / methods*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / classification
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnostic imaging*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Nerve Net / diagnostic imaging*
  • Support Vector Machine*
  • Young Adult