Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex brain neurodevelopmental disorder related to brain activity and genetics. Most of the ASD diagnostic models perform feature selection at the group level without considering individualized information. Evidence has shown the unique topology of the individual brain has a fundamental impact on brain diseases. Thus, a data-constructing method fusing individual topological information and a corresponding classification model is crucial in ASD diagnosis and biomarker discovery. In this work, we trained an attention-based graph neural network (GNN) to perform the ASD diagnosis with the fusion of graph data. The results achieved an accuracy of 79.78%. Moreover, we found the model paid high attention to brain regions mainly involved in the social-brain circuit, default-mode network, and sensory perception network. Furthermore, by analyzing the covariation between functional magnetic resonance imaging data and gene expression, current studies detected several ASD-related genes (i.e. MUTYH, AADAT, and MAP2), and further revealed their links to image biomarkers. Our work demonstrated that the ASD diagnostic framework based on graph data and attention-based GNN could be an effective tool for ASD diagnosis. The identified functional features with high attention values may serve as imaging biomarkers for ASD.
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