Detection of neuronal spikes using an adaptive threshold based on the max-min spread sorting method

J Neurosci Methods. 2008 Jul 15;172(1):112-21. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2008.04.014. Epub 2008 Apr 22.


Neuronal spike information can be used to correlate neuronal activity to various stimuli, to find target neural areas for deep brain stimulation, and to decode intended motor command for brain-machine interface. Typically, spike detection is performed based on the adaptive thresholds determined by running root-mean-square (RMS) value of the signal. Yet conventional detection methods are susceptible to threshold fluctuations caused by neuronal spike intensity. In the present study we propose a novel adaptive threshold based on the max-min spread sorting method. On the basis of microelectrode recording signals and simulated signals with Gaussian noises and colored noises, the novel method had the smallest threshold variations, and similar or better spike detection performance than either the RMS-based method or other improved methods. Moreover, the detection method described in this paper uses the reduced features of raw signal to determine the threshold, thereby giving a simple data manipulation that is beneficial for reducing the computational load when dealing with very large amounts of data (as multi-electrode recordings).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Computer Simulation
  • Differential Threshold / physiology*
  • Microelectrodes
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • User-Computer Interface