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Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder through Brain Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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Technical Report,01 Sep 2014,24 Mar 2016

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Air Force Institute of Technology WPAFB United States

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Autism spectrum disorder ASD is a neurodevelopmental condition that can be debilitating to social functioning. Previous functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging fMRI classification studies have included only small subject sample sizes n 50 and have seen high classification accuracy. The recent release of the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange ABIDE provides fMRI data for over 1,100 subjects. In our research, we derive a subjects functional network connectivity FNC from their fMRI data and develop a regularized logistic classifier to determine whether a subject has autism. We obtained up to 65 classification accuracy, similar to other studies using the ABIDE dataset, suggesting that generalizing a classifier over a large number of subjects is much more difficult than smaller studies. The connectivity among several brain regions of ASD subjects were highlighted in the model as abnormal compared to the control subjects which potentially warrants future investigations about how these regions affect ASD. Although the classification accuracy was lower than what could be considered as clinically applicable, this research contributes to the continuing development of an automated classifier for diagnosing autism.

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