Epileptic seizure detection and prediction by using noninvasive measurements such as scalp EEG signals or invasive, intracranial recordings, has been at the heart of epilepsy studies for at least three decades. To this end, the most common approach has been to consider short-length recordings (several seconds to a few minutes) around a seizure, aiming to identify significant changes that occur before or during seizures. An inherent assumption in this approach is the presence of a relatively constant EEG activity in the interictal period, which is interrupted by seizure occurrence. Here, we examine this assumption by using long-duration scalp EEG data (21–94 hr) in nine patients with epilepsy, based on which we construct functional brain networks. Our results reveal that these networks vary over time in a periodic fashion, exhibiting multiple peaks at periods ranging between 1 and 24 hr. The effects of seizure onset on the functional brain network properties were found to be considerably smaller in magnitude compared to the changes due to these inherent periodic cycles. Importantly, the properties of the identified network periodic components (instantaneous phase) were found to be strongly correlated to seizure onset, especially for the periodicities around 3 and 5 hr. These correlations were found to be largely absent between EEG signal periodicities and seizure onset, suggesting that higher specificity may be achieved by using network-based metrics. In turn, this implies that more robust seizure detection and prediction can be achieved if longer term underlying functional brain network periodic variations are taken into account.
- brain networks
- scalp EEG