Robustness of individualized inferences from longitudinal resting state EEG dynamics
Tracking how individual human brains change over extended timescales is crucial to clinical scenarios ranging from stroke recovery to healthy aging. The use of resting state (RS) activity with electroencephalography (EEG) for longitudinal tracking is a promising possibility. However, it is unresolved how a person's RS activity over time can be decoded to distinguish neurophysiological changes from confounding cognitive variability.
Using Machine Learning, here we develop a method to screen RS activity changes for these confounding effects by formulating it as a problem of change classification. We demonstrate a novel solution to change classification by linking changes to a person’s brain over time to that person’s distinctive RS signature (neural “fingerprint”) that allows them to be uniquely distinguished from other individuals.
Individual RS-electroencephalography (EEG) was acquired over 5 consecutive days including task states devised to simulate the effects of inter-day cognitive variation. As inter-individual differences are shaped by neurophysiological differences, the inter-individual differences in RS activity on 1 day were analysed (using machine learning) to identify distinctive configurations in each individual's RS activity. Using this configuration as a decision rule, an individual could be re-identified from 2-second samples of the instantaneous oscillatory power spectrum acquired on a different day both from RS and confounded RS with a limited loss in accuracy.
Importantly, the low loss in accuracy in cross-day versus same-day classification was achieved with classifiers that combined information from multiple frequency bands at channels across the scalp (with a concentration at characteristic fronto-central and occipital zones). Taken together, these findings support the technical feasibility of screening RS activity for confounding effects and the suitability of longitudinal RS for robust individualized inferences about neurophysiological change in health and disease.
Hommelsen, M., Viswanathan, S., & Daun, S. (2022). Robustness of individualized inferences from longitudinal resting state EEG dynamics. European Journal of Neuroscience, 1– 32. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejn.15673