Critical slowing as a biomarker for seizure susceptibility

Matias I. Maturana, Christian Meisel, Katrina Dell, Philippa J. Karoly, Wendyl D’Souza, David B. Grayden, Anthony N. Burkitt, Premysl Jiruska, Jan Kudlacek, Jaroslav Hlinka, Mark J. Cook, Levin Kuhlmann, Dean R. Freestone

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Jul 09, 2019
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Received Date: 14th April 19

The human brain has the capacity to rapidly change state, and in epilepsy these state changes can be catastrophic, resulting in loss of consciousness, injury and even death. Theoretical interpretations considering the brain as a dynamical system would suggest that prior to a seizure recorded brain signals may exhibit critical slowing, a warning signal preceding many critical transitions in dynamical systems. Using long-term intracranial electroencephalography (iEEG) recordings from fourteen patients with focal epilepsy, we found key signatures of critical slowing prior to seizures. Signals related to a critically slowing process fluctuated over temporally long scales (hours to days), longer than would be detectable in standard clinical evaluation settings. Seizure risk was associated with a combination of these signals together with epileptiform discharges. These results provide strong validation of theoretical models and demonstrate that critical slowing is a reliable indicator that could be used in seizure forecasting algorithms.

Read in full at bioRxiv.


This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

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