Towards the automated detection of interictal epileptiform discharges with magnetoencephalography

J Neurosci Methods. 2024 Mar:403:110052. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2023.110052. Epub 2023 Dec 25.


Background: The analysis of clinical magnetoencephalography (MEG) in patients with epilepsy traditionally relies on visual identification of interictal epileptiform discharges (IEDs), which is time consuming and dependent on subjective criteria.

New method: Here, we explore the ability of Independent Components Analysis (ICA) and Hidden Markov Modeling (HMM) to automatically detect and localize IEDs. We tested our pipelines on resting-state MEG recordings from 10 school-aged children with (multi)focal epilepsy.

Results: In focal epilepsy patients, both pipelines successfully detected visually identified IEDs, but also revealed unidentified low-amplitude IEDs. Success was more mitigated in patients with multifocal epilepsy, as our automated pipeline missed IED activity associated with some foci-an issue that could be alleviated by post-hoc manual selection of epileptiform ICs or HMM states.

Comparison with existing methods: We compared our results with visual IED detection by an experienced clinical magnetoencephalographer, getting heightened sensitivity and requiring minimal input from clinical practitioners.

Conclusions: IED detection based on ICA or HMM represents an efficient way to identify IED localization and timing. The development of these automatic IED detection algorithms provide a step forward in clinical MEG practice by decreasing the duration of MEG analysis and enhancing its sensitivity.

Keywords: Automatic detection; Epilepsy; Hidden Markov Modeling; Independent Components Analysis; Interictal epileptiform; Magnetoencephalography.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Child
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Epilepsies, Partial*
  • Epilepsy* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Magnetoencephalography / methods