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Detection of multiple sclerosis with visual evoked potentials - an unsupervised computational intelligence system

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2 Author(s)
Dasey, T.J. ; Dept. of Biomed. Eng., Rutgers Univ., Piscataway, NJ, USA ; Micheli-Tzanakou, E.

This paper describes the application of a novel unsupervised pattern recognition system to the classification of the visual evoked potentials (VEPs) of normal and multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. The method combines a traditional statistical feature extractor with a fuzzy clustering method, all implemented in a parallel neural network architecture. The optimization routine, ALOPEX, is used to train the network while decreasing the livelihood of local solutions. The unsupervised system includes a feature extraction and clustering module, trained by the optimization routine ALOPEX. Through maximization of the output variance of each node, and an architecture which excludes redundancy, the feature extraction network retains the most significant Karhunen-Loeve expansion vectors. The clustering module uses a modification to the fuzzy c-means (FCM) clustering algorithms, where ALOPEX adjusts a set of cluster centers to minimize an objective error function. The result combines the power of the FCM algorithms with the advantage of a more global solution from ALOPEX. The new pattern recognition system is used to cluster the VEPs of 13 normal and 12 MS subjects. The classification with this technique can, without supervision, separate the patient population into two groups which largely correspond to the MS and control subject groups. A suitable threshold can be chosen so that the recognizer chooses no false negatives. The use of multiple stimulation patterns appears to improve the reliability of the decision. The reasoning of most neural networks in their decision making cannot easily be extracted upon the completion of training. However, due to the linearity of the network nodes, the cluster prototypes of this unsupervised system can be reconstructed to illustrate the reasoning of the system. In this application, this analysis hints at the usefulness of previously unused portions of the VEP in detecting MS. It also indicates a possible use of the system as a training aide.

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Information Technology in Biomedicine, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 3 )