Modeling Neuronal Interactivity using Dynamic Bayesian Networks

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 18 (NIPS 2005)

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Lei Zhang, Dimitris Samaras, Nelly Alia-klein, Nora Volkow, Rita Goldstein


Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) has enabled scientists to look into the active brain. However, interactivity between functional brain regions, is still little studied. In this paper, we contribute a novel framework for modeling the interactions between multiple active brain regions, using Dynamic Bayesian Networks (DBNs) as generative mod- els for brain activation patterns. This framework is applied to modeling of neuronal circuits associated with reward. The novelty of our frame- work from a Machine Learning perspective lies in the use of DBNs to reveal the brain connectivity and interactivity. Such interactivity mod- els which are derived from fMRI data are then validated through a group classification task. We employ and compare four different types of DBNs: Parallel Hidden Markov Models, Coupled Hidden Markov Models, Fully-linked Hidden Markov Models and Dynamically Multi- Linked HMMs (DML-HMM). Moreover, we propose and compare two schemes of learning DML-HMMs. Experimental results show that by using DBNs, group classification can be performed even if the DBNs are constructed from as few as 5 brain regions. We also demonstrate that, by using the proposed learning algorithms, different DBN structures charac- terize drug addicted subjects vs. control subjects. This finding provides an independent test for the effect of psychopathology on brain function. In general, we demonstrate that incorporation of computer science prin- ciples into functional neuroimaging clinical studies provides a novel ap- proach for probing human brain function.