Manoj Vishwanath, Salar Jafarlou, Ikhwan Shin, Nikil Dutt, Amir M. Rahmani, Carolyn E. Jones, Miranda M. Lim, Hung Cao; Original publication date: November 2021; DOI: 10.1109/EMBC46164.2021.9630423
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a highly prevalent and serious public health concern. Most cases of TBI are mild in nature, yet some individuals may develop following-up persistent disability. The pathophysiologic causes for those with persistent postconcussive symptoms are most likely multifactorial and the underlying mechanism is not well understood, although it is clear that sleep disturbances feature prominently in those with persistent disability. The sleep electroencephalogram (EEG) provides a direct window into neuronal activity during an otherwise highly stereotyped behavioral state, and represents a promising quantitative measure for TBI diagnosis and prognosis. With the ever-evolving domain of machine learning, deep convolutional neural networks, and the development of better architectures, these approaches hold promise to solve some of the long entrenched challenges of personalized medicine for uses in recommendation systems and/or in health monitoring systems. In particular, advanced EEG analysis to identify putative EEG biomarkers of neurological disease could be highly relevant in the prognostication of mild TBI, an otherwise heterogeneous disorder with a wide range of affected phenotypes and disability levels. In this work, we investigate the use of various machine learning techniques and deep neural network architectures on a cohort of human subjects with sleep EEG recordings from overnight, in-lab, diagnostic polysomnography (PSG). An optimal scheme is explored for the classification of TBI versus non-TBI control subjects. The results were promising with an accuracy of ∼95% in random sampling arrangement and ∼70% in independent validation arrangement when appropriate parameters were used using a small number of subjects (10 mTBI subjects and 9 age- and sex-matched controls). We are thus confident that, with additional data and further studies, we would be able to build a generalized model to detect TBI accurately, not only via attended, in-lab PSG recordings, but also in practical scenarios such as EEG data obtained from simple wearables in daily life.