In this study, we automated the diagnostic procedure of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with the help of anatomical alterations found in structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI) data of the ASD brain and machine learning tools. Initially, the sMRI data was preprocessed using the FreeSurfer toolbox. Further, the brain regions were segmented into 148 regions of interest using the Destrieux atlas. Features such as volume, thickness, surface area, and mean curvature were extracted for each brain region, and the morphological connectivity was computed using Pearson correlation. These morphological connections were fed to XGBoost for feature reduction and to build the diagnostic model. The results showed an average accuracy of 94.16% for the top 18 features. The frontal and limbic regions contributed more features to the classification model. Our proposed method is thus effective for the classification of ASD and can also be useful for the screening of other similar neurological disorders.
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