Methods to identify neuroplasticity patterns in human brains are of the utmost importance in understanding and potentially treating neurodegenerative diseases. Parkinson disease (PD) research will greatly benefit and advance from the discovery of biomarkers to quantify brain changes in the early stages of the disease, a prodromal period when subjects show no obvious clinical symptoms. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) allows for an in-vivo estimation of the structural connectome inside the brain and may serve to quantify the degenerative process before the appearance of clinical symptoms. In this work, we introduce a novel strategy to compute longitudinal structural connectomes in the context of a whole-brain data-driven pipeline. In these initial tests, we show that our predictive models are able to distinguish controls from asymptomatic subjects at high risk of developing PD (REM sleep behavior disorder, RBD) with an area under the receiving operating characteristic curve of 0.90 (p<0.001) and a longitudinal dataset of 46 subjects part of the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative. By analyzing the brain connections most relevant for the predictive ability of the best performing model, we find connections that are biologically relevant to the disease.
Luca Giancardo, Timothy M. Ellmore, Jessika Suescun, Laura Ocasio, Arash Kamali, Roy Riascos-Castaneda, and Mya C. Schiess, "Longitudinal connectome-based predictive modeling for REM sleep behavior disorder from structural brain connectivity," Proc. SPIE 10575, Medical Imaging 2018: Computer-Aided Diagnosis, 105750J (Presented at SPIE Medical Imaging: February 12, 2018; Published: 27 February 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2293835.
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