Classifying heterogeneous presentations of PTSD via the default mode, central executive, and salience networks with machine learning
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Intrinsic connectivity networks (ICNs), including the default mode network (DMN), the central executive network (CEN), and the salience network (SN) have been shown to be aberrant in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The purpose of the current study was to a) compare ICN functional connectivity between PTSD, dissociative subtype PTSD (PTSD+DS) and healthy individuals; and b) to examine the use of multivariate machine learning algorithms in classifying PTSD, PTSD+DS, and healthy individuals based on ICN functional activation. Our neuroimaging dataset consisted of resting-state fMRI scans from 186 participants [PTSD (n = 81); PTSD + DS (n = 49); and healthy controls (n = 56)]. We performed group-level independent component analyses to evaluate functional connectivity differences within each ICN. Multiclass Gaussian Process Classification algorithms within PRoNTo software were then used to predict the diagnosis of PTSD, PTSD+DS, and healthy individuals based on ICN functional activation. When comparing the functional connectivity of ICNs between PTSD, PTSD+DS and healthy controls, we found differential patterns of connectivity to brain regions involved in emotion regulation, in addition to limbic structures and areas involved in self-referential processing, interoception, bodily self-consciousness, and depersonalization/derealization. Machine learning algorithms were able to predict with high accuracy the classification of PTSD, PTSD+DS, and healthy individuals based on ICN functional activation. Our results suggest that alterations within intrinsic connectivity networks may underlie unique psychopathology and symptom presentation among PTSD subtypes. Furthermore, the current findings substantiate the use of machine learning algorithms for classifying subtypes of PTSD illness based on ICNs.
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