Improving the detection of autism spectrum disorder by combining structural and functional MRI information

Mladen Rakić, Mariano Cabezas, Kaisar Kushibar, Arnau Oliver*, Xavier Lladó

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)
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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a brain disorder that is typically characterized by deficits in social communication and interaction, as well as restrictive and repetitive behaviors and interests. During the last years, there has been an increase in the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to help in the detection of common patterns in autism subjects versus typical controls for classification purposes. In this work, we propose a method for the classification of ASD patients versus control subjects using both functional and structural MRI information. Functional connectivity patterns among brain regions, together with volumetric correspondences of gray matter volumes among cortical parcels are used as features for functional and structural processing pipelines, respectively. The classification network is a combination of stacked autoencoders trained in an unsupervised manner and multilayer perceptrons trained in a supervised manner. Quantitative analysis is performed on 817 cases from the multisite international Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange I (ABIDE I) dataset, consisting of 368 ASD patients and 449 control subjects and obtaining a classification accuracy of 85.06 ± 3.52% when using an ensemble of classifiers. Merging information from functional and structural sources significantly outperforms the implemented individual pipelines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102181
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • autism
  • classification
  • functional MRI
  • structural MRI


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