Interictal high frequency background activity as a biomarker of epileptogenic tissue

Truman Stovall, Brian Hunt, Simon Glynn, William C. Stacey, Stephen V. Gliske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


High frequency oscillations (HFOs) are very brief events that are a well-established biomarker of the epileptogenic zone (EZ) but are rare and comprise only a tiny fraction of the total recorded EEG. We hypothesize that the interictal high frequency 'background' data, which has received little attention but represents the majority of the EEG record, also may contain additional, novel information for identifying the EZ. We analysed intracranial EEG (30-500 Hz frequency range) acquired from 24 patients who underwent resective surgery. We computed 38 quantitative features based on all usable, interictal data (63-307 h per subject), excluding all detected HFOs. We assessed association between each feature and the seizure onset zone (SOZ) and resected volume (RV) using logistic regression. A pathology score per channel was also created via principle component analysis and logistic regression, using hold-out-one-patient cross-validation to avoid in-sample training. Association of the pathology score with the SOZ and RV was quantified using an asymmetry measure. Many features were associated with the SOZ: 23/38 features had odds ratios >1.3 or <0.7 and 17/38 had odds ratios different than zero with high significance (P < 0.001/39, logistic regression with Bonferroni Correction). The pathology score, the rate of HFOs, and their channel-wise product were each strongly associated with the SOZ [median asymmetry ≥0.44, good surgery outcome patients; median asymmetry ≥0.40, patients with other outcomes; 95% confidence interval (CI) > 0.27 in both cases]. The pathology score and the channel-wise product also had higher asymmetry with respect to the SOZ than the HFO rate alone (median difference in asymmetry ≥0.18, 95% CI >0.05). These results support that the high frequency background data contains useful information for determining the EZ, distinct and complementary to information from detected HFOs. The concordance between the high frequency activity pathology score and the rate of HFOs appears to be a better biomarker of epileptic tissue than either measure alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberfcab188
JournalBrain Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • EEG
  • high frequency activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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