Nevin Manimala Statistics

Reducing instability of inter-subject covariance of FDG uptake networks using structure-weighted sparse estimation approach

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2022 Aug 26. doi: 10.1007/s00259-022-05949-9. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: Sparse inverse covariance estimation (SICE) is increasingly utilized to estimate inter-subject covariance of FDG uptake (FDGcov) as proxy of metabolic brain connectivity. However, this statistical method suffers from the lack of robustness in the connectivity estimation. Patterns of FDGcov were observed to be spatially similar with patterns of structural connectivity as obtained from DTI imaging. Based on this similarity, we propose to regularize the sparse estimation of FDGcov using the structural connectivity.

METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed the FDG-PET and DTI data of 26 healthy controls, 41 patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and 30 patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Structural connectivity matrix derived from DTI data was introduced as a regularization parameter to assign individual penalties to each potential metabolic connectivity. Leave-one-out cross validation experiments were performed to assess the differential diagnosis ability of structure weighted SICE approach. A few approaches of structure weighted were compared with the standard SICE.

RESULTS: Compared to the standard SICE, structural weighting has shown more stable performance in the supervised classification, especially in the differentiation AD vs. FTLD (accuracy of 89-90%, while unweighted SICE only 85%). There was a significant positive relationship between the minimum number of metabolic connection and the robustness of the classification accuracy (r = 0.57, P < 0.001). Shuffling experiments showed significant differences between classification score derived with true structural weighting and those obtained by randomized structure (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: The structure-weighted sparse estimation can enhance the robustness of metabolic connectivity, which may consequently improve the differentiation of pathological phenotypes.

PMID:36018359 | DOI:10.1007/s00259-022-05949-9

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