Doctor of Philosophy
Artificial neural networks, Epilepsy, EEG, Seizure Detection, Feature Extraction
Date of Defense
This dissertation established a state-of-the-art programming tool for designing and training artificial neural networks (ANNs) and showed its applicability to brain research. The developed tool, called NeuralStudio, allows users without programming skills to conduct studies based on ANNs in a powerful and very user friendly interface.
A series of unique features has been implemented in NeuralStudio, such as ROC analysis, cross-validation, network averaging, topology optimization, and optimization of the activation function’s slopes. It also included a Support Vector Machines module for comparison purposes. Once the tool was fully developed, it was applied to two studies in brain research. In the first study, the goal was to create and train an ANN to detect epileptic seizures from subdural EEG. This analysis involved extracting features from the spectral power in the gamma frequencies. In the second application, a unique method was devised to link EEG recordings to epileptic and non-epileptic subjects. The contribution of this method consisted of developing a descriptor matrix that can be used to represent any EEG file regarding its duration and the number of electrodes.
The first study showed that the inter-electrode mean of the spectral power in the gamma frequencies and its duration above a specific threshold performs better than the other frequencies in seizure detection, exhibiting an accuracy of 95.90%, a sensitivity of 92.59%, and a specificity of 96.84%. The second study yielded that Hjorth’s parameter activity is sufficient to accurately relate EEG to epileptic and non-epileptic subjects. After testing, accuracy, sensitivity and specificity of the classifier were all above 0.9667. Statistical tests measured the superiority of activity at over 99.99 % certainty.
It was demonstrated that 1) the spectral power in the gamma frequencies is highly effective in locating seizures from EEG and 2) activity can be used to link EEG recordings to epileptic and non-epileptic subjects. These two studies required high computational load and could be addressed thanks to NeuralStudio. From a medical perspective, both methods proved the merits of NeuralStudio in brain research applications. For its outstanding features, NeuralStudio has been recently awarded a patent (US patent No. 7502763).
Ayala, Melvin, "A Research Platform for Artificial Neural Networks with Applications in Pediatric Epilepsy" (2009). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 90.