Application of Support Vector Machine on fMRI Data as Biomarkers in Schizophrenia Diagnosis: A Systematic Review

Front Psychiatry. 2020 Jun 23:11:588. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00588. eCollection 2020.


Non-invasive measurements of brain function and structure as neuroimaging in patients with mental illnesses are useful and powerful tools for studying discriminatory biomarkers. To date, functional MRI (fMRI), structural MRI (sMRI) represent the most used techniques to provide multiple perspectives on brain function, structure, and their connectivity. Recently, there has been rising attention in using machine-learning (ML) techniques, pattern recognition methods, applied to neuroimaging data to characterize disease-related alterations in brain structure and function and to identify phenotypes, for example, for translation into clinical and early diagnosis. Our aim was to provide a systematic review according to the PRISMA statement of Support Vector Machine (SVM) techniques in making diagnostic discrimination between SCZ patients from healthy controls using neuroimaging data from functional MRI as input. We included studies using SVM as ML techniques with patients diagnosed with Schizophrenia. From an initial sample of 660 papers, at the end of the screening process, 22 articles were selected, and included in our review. This technique can be a valid, inexpensive, and non-invasive support to recognize and detect patients at an early stage, compared to any currently available assessment or clinical diagnostic methods in order to save crucial time. The higher accuracy of SVM models and the new integrated methods of ML techniques could play a decisive role to detect patients with SCZ or other major psychiatric disorders in the early stages of the disease or to potentially determine their neuroimaging risk factors in the near future.

Keywords: biomarkers; machine learning; resting-state fMRI; schizophrenia; support vector machine (SVM).

Publication types

  • Systematic Review