Use of Support Vector Machines Approach via ComBat Harmonized Diffusion Tensor Imaging for the Diagnosis and Prognosis of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A CENTER-TBI Study.


The prediction of functional outcome after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is challenging. Conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) does not do a good job of explaining the variance in outcome, as many patients with incomplete recovery will have normal-appearing clinical neuroimaging. More advanced quantitative techniques such as diffusion MRI (dMRI), can detect microstructural changes not otherwise visible, and so may offer a way to improve outcome prediction. In this study, we explore the potential of linear support vector classifiers (linearSVCs) to identify dMRI biomarkers that can predict recovery after mTBI. Simultaneously, the harmonization of fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) via ComBat was evaluated and compared for the classification performances of the linearSVCs. We included dMRI scans of 179 mTBI patients and 85 controls from the Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in Traumatic Brain Injury (CENTER-TBI), a multi-center prospective cohort study, up to 21 days post-injury. Patients were dichotomized according to their Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOSE) scores at 6 months into complete (n = 92; GOSE = 8) and incomplete (n = 87; GOSE