Using genetic, cognitive and multi-modal neuroimaging data to identify ultra-high-risk and first-episode psychosis at the individual level

Authors: W. Pettersson-Yeo, S. Benetti, Andre Marquand, Flavio Dell’ Acqua, S.C.R. Williams, P. Allen, Diana Prata, P. McGuire, A. Mechelli*

Journal: Psychological Medicine

DOI: 10.1017/S003329171300024X

Abstract: Background Group-level results suggest that relative to healthy controls (HCs), ultra-high-risk (UHR) and first-episode psychosis (FEP) subjects show alterations in neuroanatomy, neurofunction and cognition that may be mediated genetically. It is unclear, however, whether these groups can be differentiated at single-subject level, for instance using the machine learning analysis support vector machine (SVM). Here, we used a multimodal approach to examine the ability of structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI), functional MRI (fMRI), diffusion tensor neuroimaging (DTI), genetic and cognitive data to differentiate between UHR, FEP and HC subjects at the single-subject level using SVM. Method Three age- and gender-matched SVM paired comparison groups were created comprising 19, 19 and 15 subject pairs for FEP versus HC, UHR versus HC and FEP versus UHR, respectively. Genetic, sMRI, DTI, fMRI and cognitive data were obtained for each participant and the ability of each to discriminate subjects at the individual level in conjunction with SVM was tested. Results Successful classification accuracies (p < 0.05) comprised FEP versus HC (genotype, 67.86%; DTI, 65.79%; fMRI, 65.79% and 68.42%; cognitive data, 73.69%), UHR versus HC (sMRI, 68.42%; DTI, 65.79%), and FEP versus UHR (sMRI, 76.67%; fMRI, 73.33%; cognitive data, 66.67%). Conclusions The results suggest that FEP subjects are identifiable at the individual level using a range of biological and cognitive measures. Comparatively, only sMRI and DTI allowed discrimination of UHR from HC subjects. For the first time FEP and UHR subjects have been shown to be directly differentiable at the single-subject level using cognitive, sMRI and fMRI data. Preliminarily, the results support clinical development of SVM to help inform identification of FEP and UHR subjects, though future work is needed to provide enhanced levels of accuracy.