Multi-label, multi-domain learning identifies compounding effects of HIV and cognitive impairment 


Zhang, J., Zhao, Q., Adeli, E., Pfefferbaum, A., Sullivan, E. V., Paul, R., … & Pohl, K. M. (2022). Multi-label, multi-domain learning identifies compounding effects of HIV and cognitive impairment. Medical Image Analysis, 75, 102246.


Older individuals infected by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) are at risk for developing HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND), i.e., from reduced cognitive functioning similar to HIV-negative individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or to Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) if more severely affected. Incompletely understood is how brain structure can serve to differentiate cognitive impairment (CI) in the HIV-positive (i.e., HAND) from the HIV-negative cohort (i.e., MCI and AD). To that end, we designed a multi-label classifier that labels the structural magnetic resonance images (MRI) of individuals by their HIV and CI status via two binary variables. Proper training of such an approach traditionally requires well-curated datasets containing large number of samples for each of the corresponding four cohorts (healthy controls, CI HIV-negative adults a.k.a. CI-only, HIV-positive patients without CI a.k.a. HIV-only, and HAND). Because of the rarity of such datasets, we proposed to improve training of the multi-label classifier via a multi-domain learning scheme that also incorporates domain-specific classifiers on auxiliary single-label datasets specific to either binary label. Specifically, we complement the training dataset of MRIs of the four cohorts (Control: 156, CI-only: 335, HIV-only: 37, HAND: 145) acquired by the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California – San Francisco with a CI-specific dataset only containing MRIs of HIV-negative subjects (Controls: 229, CI-only: 397) from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative and an HIV-specific dataset (Controls: 75, HIV-only: 75) provided by SRI International. Based on cross-validation on the UCSF dataset, the multi-domain and multi-label learning strategy leads to superior classification accuracy compared with one-domain or multi-class learning approaches, specifically for the undersampled HIV-only cohort. The ‘prediction logits’ of CI computed by the multi-label formulation also successfully stratify motor performance among the HIV-positive subjects (including HAND). Finally, brain patterns driving the subject-level predictions across all four cohorts characterize the independent and compounding effects of HIV and CI in the HAND cohort.   

Keywords: Alzheimer’S disease; HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder; MRI; Multi-domain learning; Multi-label classification.

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