Use of Machine Learning for Predicting Escitalopram Treatment Outcome From Electroencephalography Recordings in Adult Patients With Depression
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IMPORTANCE: Social and economic costs of depression are exacerbated by prolonged periods spent identifying treatments that would be effective for a particular patient. Thus, a tool that reliably predicts an individual patient's response to treatment could significantly reduce the burden of depression. OBJECTIVE: To estimate how accurately an outcome of escitalopram treatment can be predicted from electroencephalographic (EEG) data on patients with depression. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This prognostic study used a support vector machine classifier to predict treatment outcome using data from the first Canadian Biomarker Integration Network in Depression (CAN-BIND-1) study. The CAN-BIND-1 study comprised 180 patients (aged 18-60 years) diagnosed with major depressive disorder who had completed 8 weeks of treatment. Of this group, 122 patients had EEG data recorded before the treatment; 115 also had EEG data recorded after the first 2 weeks of treatment. INTERVENTIONS: All participants completed 8 weeks of open-label escitalopram (10-20 mg) treatment. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The ability of EEG data to predict treatment outcome, measured as accuracy, specificity, and sensitivity of the classifier at baseline and after the first 2 weeks of treatment. The treatment outcome was defined in terms of change in symptom severity, measured by the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale, before and after 8 weeks of treatment. A patient was designated as a responder if the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale score decreased by at least 50% during the 8 weeks and as a nonresponder if the score decrease was less than 50%. RESULTS: Of the 122 participants who completed a baseline EEG recording (mean [SD] age, 36.3 [12.7] years; 76 [62.3%] female), the classifier was able to identify responders with an estimated accuracy of 79.2% (sensitivity, 67.3%; specificity, 91.0%) when using only the baseline EEG data. For a subset of 115 participants who had additional EEG data recorded after the first 2 weeks of treatment, use of these data increased the accuracy to 82.4% (sensitivity, 79.2%; specificity, 85.5%). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: These findings demonstrate the potential utility of EEG as a treatment planning tool for escitalopram therapy. Further development of the classification tools presented in this study holds the promise of expediting the search for optimal treatment for each patient.