To diagnose and lateralise temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) by building a classification system that uses directed functional connectivity patterns estimated during EEG periods without visible pathological activity.
Resting-state high-density EEG recording data from 20 left TLE patients, 20 right TLE patients and 35 healthy controls was used. Epochs without interictal spikes were selected. The cortical source activity was obtained for 82 regions of interest and whole-brain directed functional connectivity was estimated in the theta, alpha and beta frequency bands. These connectivity values were then used to build a classification system based on two two-class Random Forests classifiers: TLE vs healthy controls and left vs right TLE. Feature selection and classifier training were done in a leave-one-out procedure to compute the mean classification accuracy.
The diagnosis and lateralization classifiers achieved a high accuracy (90.7% and 90.0% respectively), sensitivity (95.0% and 90.0% respectively) and specificity (85.7% and 90.0% respectively). The most important features for diagnosis were the outflows from left and right medial temporal lobe, and for lateralization the right anterior cingulate cortex. The interaction between features was important to achieve correct classification.
This is the first study to automatically diagnose and lateralise TLE based on EEG. The high accuracy achieved demonstrates the potential of directed functional connectivity estimated from EEG periods without visible pathological activity for helping in the diagnosis and lateralization of TLE.
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