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Comparing machine and deep learning-based algorithms for prediction of clinical improvement in psychosis with functional magnetic resonance imaging.

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Previous work using logistic regression suggests that cognitive control-related frontoparietal activation in early psychosis can predict symptomatic improvement after 1 year of coordinated specialty care with 66% accuracy. Here, we evaluated the ability of six machine learning (ML) algorithms and deep learning (DL) to predict "Improver" status (>20% improvement on Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale [BPRS] total score at 1-year follow-up vs. baseline) and continuous change in BPRS score using the same functional magnetic resonance imaging-based features (frontoparietal activations during the AX-continuous performance task) in the same sample (individuals with either schizophrenia (n = 65, 49M/16F, mean age 20.8 years) or Type I bipolar disorder (n = 17, 9M/8F, mean age 21.6 years)). 138 healthy controls were included as a reference group. "Shallow" ML methods included Naive Bayes, support vector machine, K Star, AdaBoost, J48 decision tree, and random forest. DL included an explainable artificial intelligence (XAI) procedure for understanding results. The best overall performances (70% accuracy for the binary outcome and root mean square error = 9.47 for the continuous outcome) were achieved using DL. XAI revealed left DLPFC activation was the strongest feature used to make binary classification decisions, with a classification activation threshold (adjusted beta = .017) intermediate to the healthy control mean (adjusted beta = .15, 95% CI = -0.02 to 0.31) and patient mean (adjusted beta = -.13, 95% CI = -0.37 to 0.11). Our results suggest DL is more powerful than shallow ML methods for predicting symptomatic improvement. The left DLPFC may be a functional target for future biomarker development as its activation was particularly important for predicting improvement.

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