Accelerometry based detection of epileptic seizures

T.M.E. Nijsen

Research output: ThesisPhd Thesis 1 (Research TU/e / Graduation TU/e)

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Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders. Epileptic seizures are the manifestation of abnormal hypersynchronous discharges of cortical neurons that impair brain function. Most of the people affected can be treated successfully with drug therapy or neurosurgical procedures. But there is still a large group of epilepsy patients that continues to have frequent seizures. For these patients automated detection of epileptic seizures can be of great clinical importance. Seizure detection can influence daily care or can be used to evaluate treatment effect. Furthermore automated detection can be used to trigger an alarm system during seizures that might be harmful to the patient. This thesis focusses on accelerometry (ACM) based seizure detection. A detailed overview is provided, on the perspectives for long-term epilepsy monitoring and automated seizure detection. The value of accelerometry for seizure detection is shown by means of a clinical evaluation and the first steps are made towards automatic detection of epileptic seizures based on ACM. With accelerometers movements are recorded. A large group of epileptic seizures manifest in specific movement patterns, so called motor seizures. Chapter 2 of this thesis presents an overview of the published literature on available methods for epileptic seizure detection in a long-term monitoring context. Based on this overview recommendations are formulated that should be used in seizure detection research and development. It is shown that for seizure detection in home environments, other sensor modalities besides EEG become more important. The use of alternative sensor modalities (such as ACM) is relatively new and so is the algorithm development for seizure detection based on these measures. It was also found that for both the adaptation of existing techniques and the development of new algorithms, clinical information should be taken more into account. The value of ACM for seizure detection is shown by means of a clinical evaluation in chapter 3. Here 3-D ACM- and EEG/video-recordings of 18 patients with severe epilepsy are visually analyzed. A striking outcome presented in this chapter is the large number of visually detected seizures versus the number of seizures that was expected on forehand and the number of seizures that was observed by the nurses. These results underscore the need for an automatic seizure detection device even more, since in the current situation many seizures are missed and therefore it is possible that patients do not get the right (medical) treatment. It was also observed that 95% of the ACM-patterns during motor seizures are sequences of three elementary patterns: myoclonic, tonic and clonic patterns. These characteristic patterns are a starting point for the development of methods for automated seizure detection based on ACM. It was decided to use a modular approach for the detection methodology and develop algorithms separately for motor activity in general, myoclonic seizures and tonic seizures. Furthermore, clinical information is incorporated in the detection methodology. Therefore in this thesis features were used that are either based on the shape of the patterns of interest as described in clinical practice (chapter 4 and 7), or the features were based on a physiological model with parameters that are related to seizure duration and intensity (chapter 5 and 6). In chapter 4 an algorithm is developed to distinguish periods with and without movement from ACM-data. Hence, when there is no movement there is no motor seizure. The amount of data that needs further analysis for seizure detection is thus reduced. From 15 ACM-signals (measured on five positions on the body), two features are computed, the variance and the jerk. In the resulting 2-D feature space a linear threshold function is used for classification. For training and testing the algorithm ACM data along with video data are used from nocturnal recordings in mentally retarded patients with severe epilepsy. Using this algorithm the amount of data that needs further analysis is reduced considerably. The results also indicate that the algorithm is robust for fluctuations across patients and thus there is no need for training the algorithm for each new patient. For the remaining data it needs to be established whether the detected movement is seizure related or not. To this purpose a model is developed for the accelerometer pattern measured on the arm during a myoclonic seizure (chapter 5). The model consists of a mechanical and an electrophysiological part. This model is used as a matched wavelet filter to detect myoclonic seizures. In chapter 6 the model based wavelet is compared to three other time frequency measures: the short time Fourier transform, the Wigner distribution and the continuous wavelet transform using a Daubechies wavelet. All four time-frequency methods are evaluated in a linear classification setup. Data from mentally retarded patients with severe epilepsy are used for training and evaluation. The results show that both wavelets are useful for detection of myoclonic seizures. On top of that, our model based wavelet has the advantage that it consists of parameters that are related to seizure duration and intensity that are physiological meaningful. Besides myoclonic seizures, the model is also useful for the detection of clonic seizures; physiologically these are repetitive myoclonic seizures. Finally for the detection of tonic seizures, in chapter 7 a set of features is studied that incorporate the mean characteristics of ACM-patterns associated with tonic seizures. Linear discriminant analysis is used for classification in the multi-dimensional feature space. For training and testing the algorithm, again data are used from recordings in mentally retarded patients with severe epilepsy. The results show that our approach is useful for the automated detection of tonic seizures based on 3-D ACM and that it is a promising contribution in a complete multi-sensor seizure detection setup.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Aarts, Ronald M., Promotor
  • Boon, Paul A.J.M., Promotor
  • Cluitmans, Pierre J.M., Copromotor
Award date11 Sept 2008
Place of PublicationEindhoven
Print ISBNs978-90-386-1379-6
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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