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Predicting Progression from Mild Cognitive Impairment to Alzheimer's Dementia with Adversarial Attacks
  • Inci Baytas
Inci Baytas
Bogazici University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease plays a crucial role in treatment planning that might slow down the disease’s progression. This problem is commonly posed as a classification task performed by machine learning and deep learning techniques. Although data-driven techniques set the state-of-the-art in many domains, the scale of the available datasets in Alzheimer’s research is not sufficient to learn complex models from patient data. This study proposes a simple yet promising framework to predict the conversion from Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) to Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). The proposed framework comprises a shallow neural network for binary classification and a single-step gradient-based adversarial attack to find an adversarial progression direction in the input space. The step size required for the adversarial attack to change a patient’s diagnosis from MCI to AD indicates the distance to the decision boundary. The patient’s diagnosis at the next visit is predicted by employing this notion of distance to the decision boundary. We also present a potential application of the proposed framework to patient subtyping. Experiments with two publicly available datasets for Alzheimer’s disease research provide evidence that the proposed framework can address predicting MCI-to-AD conversion and subtyping by only training a shallow neural network.