Academy & Industry Research Collaboration Center (AIRCC)

Volume 11, Number 07, May 2021

Deriving Autism Spectrum Disorder Functional Networks from RS-FMRI Data
using Group ICA and Dictionary Learning


Xin Yang1, Ning Zhang2 and Donglin Wang1, 1Middle Tennessee State University, USA, 2St. Ambrose University, USA


The objective of this study is to derive functional networks for the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) population using the group ICA and dictionary learning model together and to classify ASD and typically developing (TD) participants using the functional connectivity calculated from the derived functional networks. In our experiments, the ASD functional networks were derived from resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) data. We downloaded a total of 120 training samples, including 58 ASD and 62 TD participants, which were obtained from the public repository: Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange I (ABIDE I). Our methodology and results have five main parts. First, we utilize a group ICA model to extract functional networks from the ASD group and rank the top 20 regions of interest (ROIs). Second, we utilize a dictionary learning model to extract functional networks from the ASD group and rank the top 20 ROIs. Third, we merged the 40 selected ROIs from the two models together as the ASD functional networks. Fourth, we generate three corresponding masks based on the 20 selected ROIs from group ICA, the 20 ROIs selected from dictionary learning, and the 40 combined ROIs selected from both. Finally, we extract ROIs for all training samples using the above three masks, and the calculated functional connectivity was used as features for ASD and TD classification. The classification results showed that the functional networks derived from ICA and dictionary learning together outperform those derived from a single ICA model or a single dictionary learning model.


Functional connectivity, rs-fMRI, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), group ICA, Dictionary Learning.