Researchers at Concordia University have pioneered a computer-based method to detect epileptic seizures as they occur – a new technique that may open a window on the brain's electrical activity. Their paper, "A Novel Morphology-Based Classifier for Automatic Detection of Epileptic Seizures," presented at the annual meeting of the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, documents the very successful application of this new seizure-detection method.
An epileptic seizure, which is caused by disruptions in the normal electrical activity of the brain, can produce a range of symptoms including convulsions and unconsciousness. To learn more about the timing and nature of seizures, the electrical activity of patients' brains is often recorded using electroencephalograms (EEGs). At the moment, however, epilepsy experts must review these recordings manually – a time-consuming process.
"EEG recordings may cover a period of several weeks," explains study co-author Rajeev Agarwal, a professor in Concordia's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "That's a lot of data to review. Automating the process is difficult, because there's no exact definition for a seizure, so there's no template to look for. Every seizure is different with every patient."
However, seizures have certain recognizable characteristics. They occur when neurons fire in a synchronous or rhythmic manner. As seizures progress, the EEG signals have very strong transitions. Seen on an EEG recording, the waves of electrical activity tend to be spike-like.
The Concordia team, led by PhD candidate and lead author Rajeev Yadav, devised an algorithm to check the sharpness of the electrical signals on the EEG recordings as measured by their angle or slope. A series of sharp signals indicate a seizure.
This approach proved extremely successful. In the study of EEG recordings of seven patients, the new method detected every seizure while scoring an extremely low rate of false positives. Results are far better than those obtained with existing methods.
This method of detecting seizures may have applications beyond epilepsy. "Patterns of sharp electrical activity in the brain are generally not a good thing," says Agarwal, who is also co-founder, chief technical officer and vice-president of Leap Medical Inc.
"Think of comatose patients in the ICU for example," he continues. "Some of them may be having seizures or epileptic form like activity, but there's no way to know at the moment. Our method may allow health professionals to gain a much clearer picture of patients' brain function."
The research team continues to evaluate and refine this method of seizure detection. More patient data from several different centres is being reviewed, and further publications on the subject are planned. So far, according to Agarwal, results are promising.
Partners in research:
This research was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Regroupement Stratégique en Microsystèmes du Québec.
Related links:Cited research:
Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins | EurekAlert!
Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel
Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.10.2016 | Process Engineering