A simple classification framework for predicting Alzheimer’s disease from region-based grey matter volume and APOE genotype status

Reyhaneh Ghoreishiamiri, Graham Little, Matthew R. G. Brown, Russell Greiner


Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a prevalent neurodegenerative disease currently affecting more than 47 million people in the world. There are now many complex classifiers that can accurately distinguish AD patients from healthy controls, based on the subject’s structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scan. Most such automated diagnostic systems are blackboxes: While their predictions are accurate, it is difficult for clinicians to interpret those predictions, due to the large number of features used by the classifier, and/or by the complexity of that classifier. This work demonstrates that an automated learning algorithm can produce a simple classifier that can correctly distinguish AD patients from healthy controls (HC) similar to its more-complex counterparts. Here we buildthis classifier from the data in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative database, using a fairly small set of features, including grey matter volumes of 33 regions of interest derived from structural MRI, as well as the APOE genotype. We first considered three simple base-learners that each produce a classifier that is simple and interpretable. Running our overall learner, involving standard feature selection processes and these simple base-learners, on these features, produced a 7-feature elastic net model, EN7, that achieved accuracy of 89.28% on the test set. Next, we ran the same overall learner using two more-complex base-learners over the same initial dataset. The accuracy of the best model here was 90.47%, which was not statistically different from the performance of our much simpler EN7 model.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/air.v8n2p15


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Artificial Intelligence Research

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