Differentiating Epileptic and Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures Using Machine Learning Analysis of EEG Plot Images

Sensors (Basel). 2024 Apr 29;24(9):2823. doi: 10.3390/s24092823.


The treatment of epilepsy, the second most common chronic neurological disorder, is often complicated by the failure of patients to respond to medication. Treatment failure with anti-seizure medications is often due to the presence of non-epileptic seizures. Distinguishing non-epileptic from epileptic seizures requires an expensive and time-consuming analysis of electroencephalograms (EEGs) recorded in an epilepsy monitoring unit. Machine learning algorithms have been used to detect seizures from EEG, typically using EEG waveform analysis. We employed an alternative approach, using a convolutional neural network (CNN) with transfer learning using MobileNetV2 to emulate the real-world visual analysis of EEG images by epileptologists. A total of 5359 EEG waveform plot images from 107 adult subjects across two epilepsy monitoring units in separate medical facilities were divided into epileptic and non-epileptic groups for training and cross-validation of the CNN. The model achieved an accuracy of 86.9% (Area Under the Curve, AUC 0.92) at the site where training data were extracted and an accuracy of 87.3% (AUC 0.94) at the other site whose data were only used for validation. This investigation demonstrates the high accuracy achievable with CNN analysis of EEG plot images and the robustness of this approach across EEG visualization software, laying the groundwork for further subclassification of seizures using similar approaches in a clinical setting.

Keywords: convolutional neural network; electroencephalograms; epilepsy; image recognition.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Electroencephalography* / methods
  • Epilepsy* / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy* / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Machine Learning*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Seizures* / diagnosis
  • Seizures* / physiopathology

Grants and funding

Dr. Haneef’s work was supported by the FY21 MEDVAMC Seed and Bridge funding and the Mile Hogg fund. The other authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, or publication of this article.