A machine learning approach using auditory odd-ball responses to investigate the effect of Clozapine therapy
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OBJECTIVE: To develop a machine learning (ML) methodology based on features extracted from odd-ball auditory evoked potentials to identify neurophysiologic changes induced by Clozapine (CLZ) treatment in responding schizophrenic (SCZ) subjects. This objective is of particular interest because CLZ, though a potentially dangerous drug, can be uniquely effective for otherwise medication-resistant SCZ subjects. We wish to determine whether ML methods can be used to identify a set of EEG-based discriminating features that can simultaneously (1) distinguish all the SCZ subjects before treatment (BT) from healthy volunteer (HV) subjects, (2) distinguish EEGs collected before CLZ treatment (BT) vs. those collected after treatment (AT) for those subjects most responsive to CLZ, (3) discriminate least responsive subjects from HV AT, and (4) no longer discriminate most responsive subjects from HVs AT. If a set of EEG-derived features satisfy these four conditions, then it may be concluded that these features normalize in responsive subjects as a result of CLZ treatment, and therefore potentially provide insight into the functioning of the drug on the SCZ brain. METHODS: Odd-ball auditory evoked potentials of 66 HVs and 47 SCZ adults both BT and AT with CLZ were derived from EEG recordings. Treatment outcome, after at least one year follow-up, was assessed through clinical rating scores assigned by an experienced clinician, blind to EEG results. Using a criterion of at least 35% improvement after CLZ treatment, subjects were divided into "most-responsive" (MR) and "least-responsive" (LR) groups. As a first step, a brain source localization (BSL) procedure was employed on the EEG signals to extract source waveforms from specified brain regions. ML methods were then applied to these source waveform signals to determine whether a set of features satisfying the four conditions outlined above could be discovered. RESULTS: A set of cross-power spectral density (CPSD) features meeting these criteria was identified. These CPSD features, consisting of a combination of brain regional source activity and connectivity measures, significantly overlap with the default mode network (DMN). All decrease with CLZ treatment in responding SCZs. CONCLUSIONS: A set of EEG-derived discriminating features which normalize as a result of CLZ treatment was identified. These discriminating features define a network that shares significant commonality with the DMN. Our findings are consistent with those of previous literature, which suggest that regions of the DMN are hyperactive and hyperconnected in SCZ subjects. Our study shows that these discriminating features decrease after treatment, consistent with portions of the DMN normalizing with CLZ therapy in responsive subjects. SIGNIFICANCE: Machine learning is proposed as a potentially powerful tool for analysis of the effect of medication on psychiatric illness. If replicated, the proposed approach could be used to gain some improved understanding of the effect of neuroleptic medications in treating psychotic illness. These results may also be useful in the development of new pharmaceuticals, since a new drug which induces changes in brain electrophysiology similar to those seen after CLZ could also have powerful antipsychotic properties.
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