Heart rate variability (HRV) is highly non-stationary, even if no perturbing influences can be identified during the recording of the data. The non-stationarity becomes more profound when HRV data are measured in intrinsically non-stationary environments, such as social stress. In general, HRV data measured in such situations are more difficult to analyze than those measured in constant environments. In this paper, we analyze HRV data measured during a social stress test using two multiscale approaches, the adaptive fractal analysis (AFA) and scale-dependent Lyapunov exponent (SDLE), for the purpose of uncovering differences in HRV between chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients and their matched-controls. CFS is a debilitating, heterogeneous illness with no known biomarker. HRV has shown some promise recently as a non-invasive measure of subtle physiological disturbances and trauma that are otherwise difficult to assess. If the HRV in persons with CFS are significantly different from their healthy controls, then certain cardiac irregularities may constitute good candidate biomarkers for CFS. Our multiscale analyses show that there are notable differences in HRV between CFS and their matched controls before a social stress test, but these differences seem to diminish during the test. These analyses illustrate that the two employed multiscale approaches could be useful for the analysis of HRV measured in various environments, both stationary and non-stationary.
Surface enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (SELDI) is a proteomics tool for biomarker discovery and other high throughput applications. Previous studies have identified various areas for improvement in preprocessing algorithms used for protein peak detection. Bottom-up approaches to preprocessing that emphasize modeling SELDI data acquisition are promising avenues of research to find the needed improvements in reproducibility.
SELDI protein profiling experiments can be used as a first step in studying the pathogenesis of various diseases such as cancer. There are a plethora of software packages available for doing the preprocessing of SELDI data, each with many options and written from different signal processing perspectives, offering many researchers choices they may not have the background or desire to make. Moreover, several studies have shown that mistakes in the preprocessing of the data can bias the biological interpretation of the study. For this reason, we conduct a large scale evaluation of available signal processing techniques to establish which are most effective. We use data generated from a standard, published simulation engine so that "truth" is known. We select the top algorithms by considering two logical performance metrics, and give our recommendations for research directions that are likely to be most promising. There is considerable opportunity for future contributions improving the signal processing of SELDI spectra.
SELDI-TOF mass spectrometers compact size and automated, high throughput design have been attractive to clinical researchers, and the platform has seen steady-use in biomarker studies. Despite new algorithms and preprocessing pipelines that have been developed to address reproducibility issues, visual inspection of the results of SELDI spectra preprocessing by the best algorithms still shows miscalled peaks and systematic sources of error. This suggests that there continues to be problems with SELDI preprocessing. In this work, we study the preprocessing of SELDI in detail and introduce improvements. While many algorithms, including the vendor supplied software, can identify peak clusters of specific mass (or m/z) in groups of spectra with high specificity and low false discover rate (FDR), the algorithms tend to underperform estimating the exact prevalence and intensity of peaks in those clusters. Thus group differences that at first appear very strong are shown, after careful and laborious hand inspection of the spectra, to be less than significant. Here we introduce a wavelet/neural network based algorithm which mimics what a team of expert, human users would call for peaks in each of several hundred spectra in a typical SELDI clinical study. The wavelet denoising part of the algorithm optimally smoothes the signal in each spectrum according to an improved suite of signal processing algorithms previously reported (the LibSELDI toolbox under development). The neural network part of the algorithm combines those results with the raw signal and a training dataset of expertly called peaks, to call peaks in a test set of spectra with approximately 95% accuracy. The new method was applied to data collected from a study of cervical mucus for the early detection of cervical cancer in HPV infected women. The method shows promise in addressing the ongoing SELDI reproducibility issues.
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