Individualized Prediction and Clinical Staging of Bipolar Disorders Using Neuroanatomical Biomarkers Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Neuroanatomical abnormalities in Bipolar disorder (BD) have previously been reported. However, the utility of these abnormalities in distinguishing individual BD patients from Healthy controls and stratify patients based on overall illness burden has not been investigated in a large cohort. METHODS: In this study, we examined whether structural neuroimaging scans coupled with a machine learning algorithm are able to distinguish individual BD patients from Healthy controls in a large cohort of 256 subjects. Additionally, we investigated the relationship between machine learning predicted probability scores and subjects' clinical characteristics such as illness duration and clinical stages. Neuroimaging scans were acquired from 128 BD patients and 128 Healthy controls. Gray and white matter density maps were obtained and used to 'train' a relevance vector machine (RVM) learning algorithm which was used to distinguish individual patients from Healthy controls. RESULTS: The RVM algorithm distinguished patients from Healthy controls with 70.3 % accuracy (74.2 % specificity, 66.4 % sensitivity, chi-square p<0.005) using white matter density data and 64.9 % accuracy (71.1 % specificity, 58.6 % sensitivity, chi-square p<0.005) with gray matter density. Multiple brain regions - largely covering the fronto - limbic system were identified as 'most relevant' in distinguishing both groups. Patients identified by the algorithm with high certainty (a high probability score) - belonged to a subgroup with more than ten total lifetime manic episodes including hospitalizations (late stage). CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate the presence of widespread structural brain abnormalities in BD which are associated with higher illness burden - which points to neuroprogression.


  • Mwangi, Benson
  • Wu, Mon-Ju
  • Cao, Bo
  • Passos, Ives C
  • Lavagnino, Luca
  • Keser, Zafer
  • Zunta-Soares, Giovana B
  • Hasan, Khader M
  • Kapczinski, Flavio
  • Soares, Jair C

publication date

  • March 2016