Multivariate Pattern Analysis of Volumetric Neuroimaging Data and Its Relationship With Cognitive Function in Treated HIV Disease

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Accurate prediction of longitudinal changes in cognitive function would potentially allow for targeted intervention in those at greatest risk of cognitive decline. We sought to build a multivariate model using volumetric neuroimaging data alone to accurately predict cognitive function.


Volumetric T1-weighted neuroimaging data from virally suppressed HIV-positive individuals from the CHARTER cohort (n = 139) were segmented into gray and white matter and spatially normalized before entering into machine learning models. Prediction of cognitive function at baseline and longitudinally was determined using leave-one-out cross-validation. In addition, a multivariate model of brain aging was used to measure the deviation of apparent brain age from chronological age and assess its relationship with cognitive function.


Cognitive impairment, defined using the global deficit score, was present in 37.4%. However, it was generally mild and occurred more commonly in those with confounding comorbidities (P < 0.001). Although multivariate prediction of cognitive impairment as a dichotomous variable at baseline was poor (area under the receiver operator curve 0.59), prediction of the global T-score was better than a comparable linear model (adjusted R2 = 0.08, P < 0.01 vs. adjusted R2 = 0.01, P = 0.14). Accurate prediction of longitudinal changes in cognitive function was not possible (P = 0.82). Brain-predicted age exceeded chronological age by mean (95% confidence interval) 1.17 (−0.14 to 2.53) years but was greatest in those with confounding comorbidities [5.87 (1.74 to 9.99) years] and prior AIDS [3.03 (0.00 to 6.06) years].


Accurate prediction of cognitive impairment using multivariate models using only T1-weighted data was not achievable, which may reflect the small sample size, heterogeneity of the data, or that impairment was usually mild.

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