Time-frequency based detection of newborn EEG seizure

Hassanpour, Hamid (2004) Time-frequency based detection of newborn EEG seizure. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Neurological diseases in newborns are usually first revealed by seizures, which are characterised by a synchronous discharge of a large number of neurons. Failure to control seizures may lead to brain damage or even death.

The importance of this problem prompted many researchers to look for accurate automatic methods for seizure detection. Nonstationarity and multicomponent behaviour of newborn EEG signals made this task very challenging. The significant overlap in the characteristic of background and seizure activities in newborn EEG signals added to the difficulty of seizure detection.

This research uses time-frequency based methods for automatic seizure detection. Since time-frequency signal analysis methods use joint representation in both time and frequency domains, they proved to be very suitable for analysis and processing of nonstationary and multicomponent signals such as newborn EEG.

Before using any seizure detector, the EEG data is pre-processed in order to reduce the noise effects using a time-frequency based technique. The proposed method is based on the singular value decomposition (SVD) technique applied to the matrix representing the time-frequency distribution (TFD) of the EEG signal. It has been shown that by appropriately filtering the singular vectors associated with the TFD, one can effectively enhance the desired information embedded in the signal.

Neonatal EEG seizures can have signatures in both low frequency (lower than 10 Hz) and high frequency (higher than 70 Hz) areas. The seizure detection techniques proposed in the literature concentrated on using either low frequency or high frequency signatures but not both simultaneously. These methods tend to miss the seizures that reveal themselves only in one of the two frequency areas. In this research, we propose a detection method that uses seizure features in both low and high frequency areas.

To detect EEG seizures using the low frequency signatures, an SVD-based technique is employed. The technique uses the estimated distribution function of the singular vectors associated with the time-frequency distribution of EEG epochs to discriminate between seizure and nonseizure patterns.

The high frequency signatures of seizures are mostly the result of spike events in the EEG signals. To detect these spike events, the signal is mapped into the TF domain. The high instantaneous energy of spikes is reflected as a localised energy in the high frequency area of the TF domain. Consequently, a spike can be seen as a ridge in this area of the TF domain. It has been shown that during seizure activity there is regularity in the distribution of the interspike intervals. This feature has been used as the basis for discriminating between seizure and nonseizure patterns.

The performance results obtained by applying the proposed methods on EEG signals extracted from a number of newborns show the superiority of these methods over the existing ones.

Impact and interest:

18 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 15853
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Boashash, Boualem
Keywords: electroencephalogram, seizure, time-frequency signal processing, spike, detection, enhancement, singular value decomposition, singular vector, density function, histogram, Jensen function, filtering, seizure migration
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Engineering Systems
Department: Built Environment and Engineering
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:51
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:39

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