- Machine learning and dyslexia
- Classification of individual structural neuro-imaging scans of students with and without dyslexia
- NeuroImage: Clinical
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Meta-analytic studies suggest that dyslexia is characterized by subtle and spatially distributed variations in brain anatomy, although many variations failed to be significant after corrections of multiple comparisons. To circumvent issues of significance which are characteristic for conventional analysis techniques, and to provide predictive value, we applied a machine learning technique - support vector machine - to differentiate between subjects with and without dyslexia.
In a sample of 22 students with dyslexia (20 women) and 27 students without dyslexia (25 women) (18-21 years), a classification performance of 80% (p < 0.001; d-prime = 1.67) was achieved on the basis of differences in gray matter (sensitivity 82%, specificity 78%). The voxels that were most reliable for classification were found in the left occipital fusiform gyrus (LOFG), in the right occipital fusiform gyrus (ROFG), and in the left inferior parietal lobule (LIPL). Additionally, we found that classification certainty (e.g. the percentage of times a subject was correctly classified) correlated with severity of dyslexia (r = 0.47). Furthermore, various significant correlations were found between the three anatomical regions and behavioural measures of spelling, phonology and whole-word-reading. No correlations were found with behavioural measures of short-term memory and visual/attentional confusion. These data indicate that the LOFG, ROFG and the LIPL are neuro-endophenotype and potentially biomarkers for types of dyslexia related to reading, spelling and phonology.
In a second and independent sample of 876 young adults of a general population, the trained classifier of the first sample was tested, resulting in a classification performance of 59% (p = 0.07; d-prime = 0.65). This decline in classification performance resulted from a large percentage of false alarms. This study provided support for the use of machine learning in anatomical brain imaging.
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