Multivariate pattern analysis of DTI reveals differential white matter in individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder

Fei Li, Xiaoqi Huang, Wanjie Tang, Yanchun Yang, Bin Li, Graham J Kemp, Andrea Mechelli, Qiyong Gong
Human Brain Mapping 2014, 35 (6): 2643-51
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies have revealed group differences in white matter between patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and healthy controls. However, the results of these studies were based on average differences between the two groups, and therefore had limited clinical applicability. The objective of this study was to investigate whether fractional anisotropy (FA) of white matter can be used to discriminate between patients with OCD and healthy controls at the level of the individual. DTI data were acquired from 28 OCD patients and 28 demographically matched healthy controls, scanned using a 3T MRI system. Differences in FA values of white matter between OCD and healthy controls were examined using a multivariate pattern classification technique known as support vector machine (SVM). SVM applied to FA images correctly identified OCD patients with a sensitivity of 86% and a specificity of 82% resulting in a statistically significant accuracy of 84% (P ≤ 0.001). This discrimination was based on a distributed network including bilateral prefrontal and temporal regions, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, superior fronto-parietal fasciculus, splenium of corpus callosum and left middle cingulum bundle. The present study demonstrates subtle and spatially distributed white matter abnormalities in individuals with OCD, and provides preliminary support for the suggestion that that these could be used to aid the identification of individuals with OCD in clinical practice.

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