Growing evidence has shown that the brain connectivity network experiences alterations for complex diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Network comparison, also known as differential network analysis, is thus particularly powerful to reveal the disease pathologies and identify clinical biomarkers for medical diagnoses (classification). Data from neurophysiological measurements are multidimensional and in matrix-form. Naive vectorization method is not sufficient as it ignores the structural information within the matrix. In the article, we adopt the Kronecker product covariance matrices framework to capture both spatial and temporal correlations of the matrix-variate data while the temporal covariance matrix is treated as a nuisance parameter. By recognizing that the strengths of network connections may vary across subjects, we develop an ensemble-learning procedure, which identifies the differential interaction patterns of brain regions between the case group and the control group and conducts medical diagnosis (classification) of the disease simultaneously. Simulation studies are conducted to assess the performance of the proposed method. We apply the proposed procedure to the functional connectivity analysis of an functional magnetic resonance imaging study on AD. The hub nodes and differential interaction patterns identified are consistent with existing experimental studies, and satisfactory out-of-sample classification performance is achieved for medical diagnosis of AD.

This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (