Using Sleep Time Data from Wearable Sensors for Early Detection of Migraine Attacks

Sensors (Basel). 2018 Apr 28;18(5):1374. doi: 10.3390/s18051374.


The migraine is a chronic, incapacitating neurovascular disorder, characterized by attacks of severe headache and autonomic nervous system dysfunction. Among the working age population, the costs of migraine are 111 billion euros in Europe alone. The early detection of migraine attacks would reduce these costs, as it would shorten the migraine attack by enabling correct timing when taking preventive medication. In this article, whether it is possible to detect migraine attacks beforehand using wearable sensors is studied, and t preliminary results about how accurate the recognition can be are provided. The data for the study were collected from seven study subjects using a wrist-worn Empatica E4 sensor, which measures acceleration, galvanic skin response, blood volume pulse, heart rate and heart rate variability, and temperature. Only sleep time data were used in this study. A novel method to increase the number of training samples is introduced, and the results show that, using personal recognition models and quadratic discriminant analysis as a classifier, balanced accuracy for detecting attacks one night prior is over 84%. While this detection rate is high, the results also show that balance accuracy varies greatly between study subjects, which shows how complicated the problem actually is. However, at this point, the results are preliminary as the data set contains only seven study subjects, so these do not cover all migraine types. If the findings of this article can be confirmed in a larger population, it may potentially contribute to early diagnosis of migraine attacks.

Keywords: early detection; machine learning; migraine; wearable sensors.

MeSH terms

  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders
  • Sleep*
  • Wearable Electronic Devices