Fusion of ULS Group Constrained High- and Low-Order Sparse Functional Connectivity Networks for MCI Classification

Neuroinformatics. 2020 Jan;18(1):1-24. doi: 10.1007/s12021-019-09418-x.


Functional connectivity networks, derived from resting-state fMRI data, have been found as effective biomarkers for identifying mild cognitive impairment (MCI) from healthy elderly. However, the traditional functional connectivity network is essentially a low-order network with the assumption that the brain activity is static over the entire scanning period, ignoring temporal variations among the correlations derived from brain region pairs. To overcome this limitation, we proposed a new type of sparse functional connectivity network to precisely describe the relationship of temporal correlations among brain regions. Specifically, instead of using the simple pairwise Pearson's correlation coefficient as connectivity, we first estimate the temporal low-order functional connectivity for each region pair based on an ULS Group constrained-UOLS regression algorithm, where a combination of ultra-least squares (ULS) criterion with a Group constrained topology structure detection algorithm is applied to detect the topology of functional connectivity networks, aided by an Ultra-Orthogonal Least Squares (UOLS) algorithm to estimate connectivity strength. Compared to the classical least squares criterion which only measures the discrepancy between the observed signals and the model prediction function, the ULS criterion takes into consideration the discrepancy between the weak derivatives of the observed signals and the model prediction function and thus avoids the overfitting problem. By using a similar approach, we then estimate the high-order functional connectivity from the low-order connectivity to characterize signal flows among the brain regions. We finally fuse the low-order and the high-order networks using two decision trees for MCI classification. Experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method on MCI classification.

Keywords: Computer-aided detection and diagnosis; High-order network; Low-order network; Mild cognitive impairment; Ultra-least squares.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain Mapping / classification
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / classification*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / classification*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Neural Networks, Computer*