Document Type



Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Malek Adjouadi

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Armando Barreto

Third Advisor's Name

Wei-Chiang Lin

Fourth Advisor's Name

Naphtali Rishe

Fifth Advisor's Name

Chenzhong Li


Brain Activation Pattern, Data Driven Clustering, fMRI, Epilepsy, Language, Nonlinear Decision Functions, PCA-based decisional space

Date of Defense



This dissertation establishes a novel data-driven method to identify language network activation patterns in pediatric epilepsy through the use of the Principal Component Analysis (PCA) on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). A total of 122 subjects’ data sets from five different hospitals were included in the study through a web-based repository site designed here at FIU. Research was conducted to evaluate different classification and clustering techniques in identifying hidden activation patterns and their associations with meaningful clinical variables. The results were assessed through agreement analysis with the conventional methods of lateralization index (LI) and visual rating. What is unique in this approach is the new mechanism designed for projecting language network patterns in the PCA-based decisional space. Synthetic activation maps were randomly generated from real data sets to uniquely establish nonlinear decision functions (NDF) which are then used to classify any new fMRI activation map into typical or atypical. The best nonlinear classifier was obtained on a 4D space with a complexity (nonlinearity) degree of 7. Based on the significant association of language dominance and intensities with the top eigenvectors of the PCA decisional space, a new algorithm was deployed to delineate primary cluster members without intensity normalization. In this case, three distinct activations patterns (groups) were identified (averaged kappa with rating 0.65, with LI 0.76) and were characterized by the regions of: 1) the left inferior frontal Gyrus (IFG) and left superior temporal gyrus (STG), considered typical for the language task; 2) the IFG, left mesial frontal lobe, right cerebellum regions, representing a variant left dominant pattern by higher activation; and 3) the right homologues of the first pattern in Broca's and Wernicke's language areas. Interestingly, group 2 was found to reflect a different language compensation mechanism than reorganization. Its high intensity activation suggests a possible remote effect on the right hemisphere focus on traditionally left-lateralized functions. In retrospect, this data-driven method provides new insights into mechanisms for brain compensation/reorganization and neural plasticity in pediatric epilepsy.





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