Objective: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a psychiatric disorder with serious negative health outcomes; however, there is no reliable method of diagnosis. This study explored the clinical diagnostic value of the fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (fALFF) based on the support vector machine (SVM) method for the diagnosis of MDD.
Methods: A total of 198 first-episode MDD patients and 234 healthy controls were involved in this study, and all participants underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanning. Imaging data were analyzed with the fALFF and SVM methods.
Results: Compared with the healthy controls, the first-episode MDD patients showed higher fALFF in the left mid cingulum, right precuneus, and left superior frontal gyrus (SFG). The increased fALFF in these three brain regions was positively correlated with the executive control reaction time (ECRT), and the increased fALFF in the left mid cingulum and left SFG was positively correlated with the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD-17) scores. The SVM results showed that increased fALFF in the left mid cingulum, right precuneus, and left SFG exhibited high diagnostic accuracy of 72.92% (315/432), 71.76% (310/432), and 73.84% (319/432), respectively. The highest diagnostic accuracy of 76.39% (330/432) was demonstrated for the combination of increased fALFF in the right precuneus and left SFG, along with a sensitivity of 84.34% (167/198), and a specificity of 70.51% (165/234).
Conclusion: Increased fALFF in the left mid cingulum, right precuneus, and left SFG may serve as a neuroimaging marker for first-episode MDD. The use of the increased fALFF in the right precuneus and left SFG in combination showed the best diagnostic value.