Adjusting for matching and covariates in linear discriminant analysis

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In studies that compare several diagnostic or treatment groups, subjects may not only be measured on a certain set of feature variables, but also be matched on a number of demographic characteristics and measured on additional covariates. Linear discriminant analysis (LDA) is sometimes used to identify which feature variables best discriminate among groups, while accounting for the dependencies among the feature variables. We present a new approach to LDA for multivariate normal data that accounts for the subject matching used in a particular study design, as well as covariates not used in the matching. Applications are given for post-mortem tissue data with the aim of comparing neurobiological characteristics of subjects with schizophrenia with those of normal controls, and for a post-mortem tissue primate study comparing brain biomarker measurements across three treatment groups. We also investigate the performance of our approach using a simulation study.

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