Machine Learning and Network Analysis for Diagnosis and Prediction in Disorders of Consciousness
BACKGROUND: Prolonged Disorders of Consciousness (PDOC) resulting from severe acquired brain injury can lead to complex disabilities that make diagnosis challenging. The role of machine learning (ML) in diagnosing PDOC states and identifying intervention strategies is relatively under-explored, having focused on predicting mortality and poor outcome. This study aims to: (a) apply ML techniques to predict PDOC diagnostic states from variables obtained from two non-invasive neurobehavior assessment tools; and (b) apply network analysis for guiding possible intervention strategies.
METHODS: The Coma Recovery Scale-Revised (CRS-R) is a well-established tool for assessing patients with PDOC. More recently, music has been found to be a useful medium for assessment of coma patients, leading to the standardization of a music-based assessment of awareness: Music Therapy Assessment Tool for Awareness in Disorders of Consciousness (MATADOC). CRS-R and MATADOC data were collected from 74 PDOC patients aged 16-70 years at three specialist centers in the USA, UK and Ireland. The data were analyzed by three ML techniques (neural networks, decision trees and cluster analysis) as well as modelled through system-level network analysis.
RESULTS: PDOC diagnostic state can be predicted to a relatively high level of accuracy that sets a benchmark for future ML analysis using neurobehavioral data only. The outcomes of this study may also have implications for understanding the role of music therapy in interdisciplinary rehabilitation to help patients move from one coma state to another.
CONCLUSIONS: This study has shown how ML can derive rules for diagnosis of PDOC with data from two neurobehavioral tools without the need to harvest large clinical and imaging datasets. Network analysis using the measures obtained from these two non-invasive tools provides novel, system-level ways of interpreting possible transitions between PDOC states, leading to possible use in novel, next-generation decision-support systems for PDOC.