Adaptive testing for multiple traits in a proportional odds model with applications to detect SNP-brain network associations

for the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


There has been increasing interest in developing more powerful and flexible statistical tests to detect genetic associations with multiple traits, as arising from neuroimaging genetic studies. Most of existing methods treat a single trait or multiple traits as response while treating an SNP as a predictor coded under an additive inheritance mode. In this paper, we follow an earlier approach in treating an SNP as an ordinal response while treating traits as predictors in a proportional odds model (POM). In this way, it is not only easier to handle mixed types of traits, e.g., some quantitative and some binary, but it is also potentially more robust to the commonly adopted additive inheritance mode. More importantly, we develop an adaptive test in a POM so that it can maintain high power across many possible situations. Compared to the existing methods treating multiple traits as responses, e.g., in a generalized estimating equation (GEE) approach, the proposed method can be applied to a high dimensional setting where the number of phenotypes (p) can be larger than the sample size (n), in addition to a usual small P setting. The promising performance of the proposed method was demonstrated with applications to the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) data, in which either structural MRI driven phenotypes or resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) derived brain functional connectivity measures were used as phenotypes. The applications led to the identification of several top SNPs of biological interest. Furthermore, simulation studies showed competitive performance of the new method, especially for p > n.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-277
Number of pages19
JournalGenetic epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the reviewers for many helpful and constructive comments. This research was supported by NIH grants R01GM113250, R01HL105397 and R01HL116720, and by the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute. J.K. was supported by a UMII MnDRIVE fellowship. Data collection and sharing for this project was funded by the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) (National Institutes of Health Grant U01 AG024904) and DOD ADNI (Department of Defense award number W81XWH-12-2-0012). ADNI is funded by the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and through generous contributions from the following: Alzheimer's Association; Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation; BioClinica, Inc.; Biogen Idec Inc.; Bristol-Myers Squibb Company; Eisai Inc.; Elan Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Eli Lilly and Company; F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., and its affiliated company Genentech, Inc.; GE Healthcare; Innogenetics, N.V.; IXICO Ltd.; Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy Research Development, LLC.; Johnson Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Development LLC.; Medpace, Inc.; Merck & Co., Inc.; Meso Scale Diagnostics, LLC.; NeuroRx Research; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation; Pfizer Inc.; Piramal Imaging; Servier; Synarc Inc.; and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research is providing funds to support ADNI clinical sites in Canada. Private sector contributions are facilitated by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health ( The grantee organization is the Northern California Institute for Research and Education, and the study is coordinated by the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study at the University of California, San Diego. ADNI data are disseminated by the Laboratory for Neuro Imaging at the University of California, Los Angeles. This research was also supported by NIH grants P30 AG010129 and K01 AG030514.

Publisher Copyright:


  • ADNI
  • GWAS
  • MRI
  • aSPU
  • default mode network (DMN)
  • functional connectivity
  • high dimensional phenotypes
  • rs-fMRI


Dive into the research topics of 'Adaptive testing for multiple traits in a proportional odds model with applications to detect SNP-brain network associations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this