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Machine learning identification of EEG features predicting working memory performance in schizophrenia and healthy adults.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:With millisecond-level resolution, electroencephalographic (EEG) recording provides a sensitive tool to assay neural dynamics of human cognition. However, selection of EEG features used to answer experimental questions is typically determined a priori. The utility of machine learning was investigated as a computational framework for extracting the most relevant features from EEG data empirically. METHODS:Schizophrenia (SZ; n = 40) and healthy community (HC; n = 12) subjects completed a Sternberg Working Memory Task (SWMT) during EEG recording. EEG was analyzed to extract 5 frequency components (theta1, theta2, alpha, beta, gamma) at 4 processing stages (baseline, encoding, retention, retrieval) and 3 scalp sites (frontal-Fz, central-Cz, occipital-Oz) separately for correctly and incorrectly answered trials. The 1-norm support vector machine (SVM) method was used to build EEG classifiers of SWMT trial accuracy (correct vs. incorrect; Model 1) and diagnosis (HC vs. SZ; Model 2). External validity of SVM models was examined in relation to neuropsychological test performance and diagnostic classification using conventional regression-based analyses. RESULTS:SWMT performance was significantly reduced in SZ (p < .001). Model 1 correctly classified trial accuracy at 84 % in HC, and at 74 % when cross-validated in SZ data. Frontal gamma at encoding and central theta at retention provided highest weightings, accounting for 76 % of variance in SWMT scores and 42 % variance in neuropsychological test performance across samples. Model 2 identified frontal theta at baseline and frontal alpha during retrieval as primary classifiers of diagnosis, providing 87 % classification accuracy as a discriminant function. CONCLUSIONS:EEG features derived by SVM are consistent with literature reports of gamma's role in memory encoding, engagement of theta during memory retention, and elevated resting low-frequency activity in schizophrenia. Tests of model performance and cross-validation support the stability and generalizability of results, and utility of SVM as an analytic approach for EEG feature selection.

SUBMITTER: Johannesen JK 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4928381 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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