Development and application of a diagnostic algorithm for posttraumatic stress disorder

Lisa M James, Ilana Belitskaya-Lévy, Ying Lu, Hui Wang, Brian Engdahl, Arthur C Leuthold, Apostolos P Georgopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Intact cognitive functions rely on synchronous neural activity; conversely, alterations in synchrony are thought to underlie psychopathology. We recently demonstrated that anomalies in synchronous neural interactions (SNI) determined by magnetoencephalography represent a putative PTSD biomarker. Here we develop and apply a regression-based diagnostic algorithm to further validate SNI as a PTSD biomarker in 432 veterans (235 controls; 138 pure PTSD; 59 PTSD plus comorbid disorders). Correlation coefficients served as proximities in multidimensional scaling (MDS) to obtain a two-dimensional representation of the data. In addition, least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) regression was used to derive a diagnostic algorithm for PTSD. Performance of this algorithm was assessed by the area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves, sensitivity, and specificity in 1000 randomly divided testing and validation datasets and in independent samples. MDS revealed that individuals with PTSD, regardless of comorbid psychiatric conditions, are highly distinct from controls. Similarly, application of the LASSO regression-derived prediction model demonstrated remarkable classification accuracy (AUCs≥0.93 for men, AUC=0.82 for women). Neural functioning in individuals with PTSD, regardless of comorbid psychiatric diagnoses, can be used as a diagnostic test to determine patient disease status, further validating SNI as a PTSD biomarker.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 30 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was partially supported by a service directed grant from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs . The authors thank Kari Johnson, Emily Van Kampen, Ann Marie Winskowski, Ryan Miller, Alina Shub, and Alex Alcorn for their help in participant recruitment, consent, and data entry.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014.

Copyright 2015 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Biomarker
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • ROC curve
  • Regression analysis
  • Veterans


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