Document Type


Source of Publication

IEEE Access

Publication Date



© 2013 IEEE. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), commonly known as autism, is a lifelong developmental disorder associated with a broad range of symptoms including difficulties in social interaction, communication skills, and restricted and repetitive behaviors. In autism spectrum disorder, numerous studies suggest abnormal development of neural networks that manifest itself as abnormalities of brain shape, functionality, and/ or connectivity. The aim of this work is to present our automated computer aided diagnostic (CAD) system for accurate identification of autism spectrum disorder based on the connectivity of the white matter (WM) tracts. To achieve this goal, two levels of analysis are provided for local and global scores using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data. A local analysis using the Johns Hopkins WM atlas is exploited for DTI atlas-based segmentation. Furthermore, WM integrity is examined by extracting the most notable features representing WM connectivity from DTI. Interactions of WM features between different areas in the brain, demonstrating correlations between WM areas were used, and feature selection among those associations were made. Finally, a leave-one-subject-out classifier is employed to yield a final per-subject decision. The proposed system was tested on a large dataset of 263 subjects from the National Database of Autism Research (NDAR) with their Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) scores and diagnosis (139 typically developed: 66 males, and 73 females, and 124 autistics: 66 males, and 58 females), with ages ranging from 96 to 215 months, achieving an overall accuracy of 73%. In addition to this achieved global accuracy, diagnostically-important brain areas were identified, allowing for a better understanding of ASD-related brain abnormalities, which is considered as an essential step towards developing early personalized treatment plans for children with autism spectrum disorder.




Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)



First Page


Last Page



Computer Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Autism spectrum disorder, connectivity, diffusion, DTI, dwMRI, gray matter and white matter

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Indexed in Scopus


Open Access


Open Access Type

Gold: This publication is openly available in an open access journal/series