Predicting PTSD severity using longitudinal magnetoencephalography with a multi-step learning framework
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Objective The present study explores the effectiveness of incorporating temporal information in predicting Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) severity using magnetoencephalography (MEG) imaging data. The main objective was to assess the relationship between longitudinal MEG functional connectome data, measured across a variety of neural oscillatory frequencies and collected at two-timepoints (Phase I & II), against PTSD severity captured at the later time point. Approach We used an in-house developed informatics solution, featuring a two-step process featuring pre-learn feature selection (CV-SVR-rRF-FS, cross-validation with support vector regression and recursive random forest feature selection) and deep learning (long-short term memory recurrent neural network, LSTM-RNN) techniques. Main results The pre-learn step selected a small number of functional connections (or edges) from Phase I MEG data associated with Phase II PTSD severity, indexed using the PTSD CheckList (PCL) score. This strategy identified the functional edges affected by traumatic exposure and indexed disease severity, either permanently or evolving dynamically over time, for optimal predictive performance. Using the selected functional edges, LSTM modelling was used to incorporate the Phase II MEG data into longitudinal regression models. Single timepoint (Phase I and Phase II MEG data) SVR models were generated for comparison. Assessed with holdout test data, alpha and high gamma bands showed enhanced predictive performance with the longitudinal models comparing to the Phase I single timepoint models. The best predictive performance was observed for lower frequency ranges compared to the higher frequencies (low gamma), for both model types. Significance This study identified the neural oscillatory signatures that benefited from additional temporal information when estimating the outcome of PTSD severity using MEG functional connectome data. Crucially, this approach can similarly be applied to any other mental health challenge, using this effective informatics foundation for longitudinal tracking of pathological brain states and predicting outcome with a MEG-based neurophysiology imaging system.
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