In Alzheimer’s Diseases (AD) research, multimodal imaging analysis can unveil complementary information from multiple imaging modalities and further our understanding of the disease. One application is to discover disease subtypes using unsupervised clustering. However, existing clustering methods are often applied to input features directly, and could suffer from the curse of dimensionality with high-dimensional multimodal data. The purpose of our study is to identify multimodal imaging-driven subtypes in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) participants using a multiview learning framework based on Deep Generalized Canonical Correlation Analysis (DGCCA), to learn shared latent representation with low dimensions from 3 neuroimaging modalities.
DGCCA applies non-linear transformation to input views using neural networks and is able to learn correlated embeddings with low dimensions that capture more variance than its linear counterpart, generalized CCA (GCCA). We designed experiments to compare DGCCA embeddings with single modality features and GCCA embeddings by generating 2 subtypes from each feature set using unsupervised clustering. In our validation studies, we found that amyloid PET imaging has the most discriminative features compared with structural MRI and FDG PET which DGCCA learns from but not GCCA. DGCCA subtypes show differential measures in 5 cognitive assessments, 6 brain volume measures, and conversion to AD patterns. In addition, DGCCA MCI subtypes confirmed AD genetic markers with strong signals that existing late MCI group did not identify.
Overall, DGCCA is able to learn effective low dimensional embeddings from multimodal data by learning non-linear projections. MCI subtypes generated from DGCCA embeddings are different from existing early and late MCI groups and show most similarity with those identified by amyloid PET features. In our validation studies, DGCCA subtypes show distinct patterns in cognitive measures, brain volumes, and are able to identify AD genetic markers. These findings indicate the promise of the imaging-driven subtypes and their power in revealing disease structures beyond early and late stage MCI.