UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Profiling Somatosensory Impairment after Stroke: Characterizing Common “Fingerprints” of Impairment Using Unsupervised Machine Learning-Based Cluster Analysis of Quantitative Measures of the Upper Limb Senadheera, Isuru; Larssen, Beverley C.; Mak-Yuen, Yvonne Y. K.; Steinfort, Sarah; Carey, Leeanne M.; Alahakoon, Damminda

Abstract

Altered somatosensory function is common among stroke survivors, yet is often poorly characterized. Methods of profiling somatosensation that illustrate the variability in impairment within and across different modalities remain limited. We aimed to characterize post-stroke somatosensation profiles (“fingerprints”) of the upper limb using an unsupervised machine learning cluster analysis to capture hidden relationships between measures of touch, proprioception, and haptic object recognition. Raw data were pooled from six studies where multiple quantitative measures of upper limb somatosensation were collected from stroke survivors (n = 207) using the Tactile Discrimination Test (TDT), Wrist Position Sense Test (WPST) and functional Tactile Object Recognition Test (fTORT) on the contralesional and ipsilesional upper limbs. The Growing Self Organizing Map (GSOM) unsupervised machine learning algorithm was used to generate a topology-preserving two-dimensional mapping of the pooled data and then separate it into clusters. Signature profiles of somatosensory impairment across two modalities (TDT and WPST; n = 203) and three modalities (TDT, WPST, and fTORT; n = 141) were characterized for both hands. Distinct impairment subgroups were identified. The influence of background and clinical variables was also modelled. The study provided evidence of the utility of unsupervised cluster analysis that can profile stroke survivor signatures of somatosensory impairment, which may inform improved diagnosis and characterization of impairment patterns.

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CC BY 4.0