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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients show altered patterns of functional connectivity (FC) on resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (RSfMRI) scans. It is yet unclear which RSfMRI measures are most informative for the individual classification of AD patients.
We investigated this using RSfMRI scans from 77 AD patients (MMSE = 20.4 ± 4.5) and 173 controls (MMSE = 27.5 ± 1.8). We calculated i) FC matrices between resting state components as obtained with independent component analysis (ICA), ii) the dynamics of these FC matrices using a sliding window approach, iii) we distinguished five FC states and administered how long each subject resided in each of these five states, and iv) we calculated the graph properties (e.g., connection degree, and clustering coefficient) of the FC matrices. Furthermore, for each voxel we calculated v) FC with 10 resting state networks using dual regression, vi) FC with the hippocampus, vii) eigenvector centrality, and viii) the amplitude of low frequency fluctuations (ALFF). These eight measures were used separately as predictors in an elastic net logistic regression, and combined in a group lasso logistic regression model. We calculated the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve plots (AUC) to determine classification performance.
The AUC values ranged between 0.51 and 0.84 and the highest were found for the FC matrices (0.82), FC dynamics (0.84) and ALFF (0.82). The combination of all measures resulted in an AUC of 0.85.
We show that it is possible to obtain moderate to good AD classification using RSfMRI scans. FC matrices, FC dynamics and ALFF are most discriminative and the combination of all the resting state measures improves classification accuracy slightly.