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Original Research

Convolutional Neural Network–Based Deep Learning Model for Predicting Differential Suicidality in Depressive Patients Using Brain Generalized q-Sampling Imaging

Vincent Chin-Hung Chen, MD, PhDa,b; Fu-Te Wong, MSc; Yuan-Hsiung Tsai, MD, PhDa,d; Man Teng Cheok, BSc; Yi-Peng Eve Chang, MSe; Roger S. McIntyre, MDf,g,h; and Jun-Cheng Weng, PhDb,c,i,*

Published: February 23, 2021


Objective: Suicide is a priority health problem. Suicide assessment depends on imperfect clinician assessment with minimal ability to predict the risk of suicide. Machine learning/deep learning provides an opportunity to detect an individual at risk of suicide to a greater extent than clinician assessment. The present study aimed to use deep learning of structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to create an algorithm for detecting suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts.

Methods: We recruited 4 groups comprising a total of 186 participants: 33 depressive patients with suicide attempt (SA), 41 depressive patients with suicidal ideation (SI), 54 depressive patients without suicidal thoughts (DP), and 58 healthy controls (HCs). The confirmation of depressive disorder, SA and SI was based on psychiatrists’ diagnosis and Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) interviews. In the generalized q-sampling imaging (GQI) dataset, indices of generalized fractional anisotropy (GFA), the isotropic value of the orientation distribution function (ISO), and normalized quantitative anisotropy (NQA) were separately trained in convolutional neural network (CNN)–based deep learning and DenseNet models.

Results: From the results of 5-fold cross-validation, the best accuracies of the CNN classifier for predicting SA, SI, and DP against HCs were 0.916, 0.792, and 0.589, respectively. In SA-ISO, DenseNet outperformed the simple CNNs with a best accuracy from 5-fold cross-validation of 0.937. In SA-NQA, the best accuracy was 0.915.

Conclusions: The results showed that a deep learning method based on structural MRI can effectively detect individuals at different levels of suicide risk, from depression to suicidal ideation and attempted suicide. Further studies from different populations, larger sample sizes, and prospective follow-up studies are warranted to confirm the utility of deep learning methods for suicide prevention and intervention.


Volume: 82

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