In the analysis and diagnosis of many diseases, such as the Alzheimer's disease (AD), two important and related tasks are usually required: i) selecting genetic and phenotypical markers for diagnosis, and ii) identifying associations between genetic and phenotypical features. While previous studies treat these two tasks separately, they are tightly coupled due to the same underlying biological basis. To harness their potential benefits for each other, we propose a new sparse Bayesian approach to jointly carry out the two important and related tasks. In our approach, we extract common latent features from different data sources by sparse projection matrices and then use the latent features to predict disease severity levels; in return, the disease status can guide the learning of sparse projection matrices, which not only reveal interactions between data sources but also select groups of related biomarkers. In order to boost the learning of sparse projection matrices, we further incorporate graph Laplacian priors encoding the valuable linkage disequilibrium (LD) information. To efficiently estimate the model, we develop a variational inference algorithm. Analysis on an imaging genetics dataset for AD study shows that our model discovers biologically meaningful associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features, and achieves significantly higher accuracy for predicting ordinal AD stages than competitive methods.
Intelligent agents are often faced with the need to choose actions with uncertain consequences, and to modify those actions according to ongoing sensory processing and changing task demands. The requisite ability to dynamically modify or cancel planned actions is known as inhibitory control in psychology. We formalize inhibitory control as a rational decision-making problem, and apply to it to the classical stop-signal task. Using Bayesian inference and stochastic control tools, we show that the optimal policy systematically depends on various parameters of the problem, such as the relative costs of different action choices, the noise level of sensory inputs, and the dynamics of changing environmental demands. Our normative model accounts for a range of behavioral data in humans and animals in the stop-signal task, suggesting that the brain implements statistically optimal, dynamically adaptive, and reward-sensitive decision-making in the context of inhibitory control problems.
We propose an algorithm for simultaneously estimating state transitions among neural states, the number of neural states, and nonstationary firing rates using a switching state space model (SSSM). This model enables us to detect state transitions based not only on the discontinuous changes of mean firing rates but also on discontinuous changes in temporal profiles of firing rates, e.g., temporal correlation. We derive a variational Bayes algorithm for a non-Gaussian SSSM whose non-Gaussian property is caused by binary spike events. Synthetic data analysis reveals the high performance of our algorithm in estimating state transitions, the number of neural states, and nonstationary firing rates compared to previous methods. We also analyze neural data recorded from the medial temporal area. The statistically detected neural states probably coincide with transient and sustained states, which have been detected heuristically. Estimated parameters suggest that our algorithm detects the state transition based on discontinuous change in the temporal correlation of firing rates, which transitions previous methods cannot detect. This result suggests the advantage of our algorithm in real-data analysis.
Inference for the stochastic blockmodel is currently of burgeoning interest in the statistical community, as well as in various application domains as diverse as social networks, citation networks, brain connectivity networks (connectomics), etc. Recent theoretical developments have shown that spectral embedding of graphs yields tractable distributional results; in particular, a random dot product latent position graph formulation of the stochastic blockmodel informs a mixture of normal distributions for the adjacency spectral embedding. We employ this new theory to provide an empirical Bayes methodology for estimation of block memberships of vertices in a random graph drawn from the stochastic blockmodel, and demonstrate its practical utility. The posterior inference is conducted using a Metropolis-within-Gibbs algorithm. The theory and methods are illustrated through Monte Carlo simulation studies, both within the stochastic blockmodel and beyond, and experimental results on a Wikipedia data set are presented.