Epilepsy and Behavior

Computer-assisted EEG diagnostic review for idiopathic generalized epilepsy


Epilepsy diagnosis can be costly, time-consuming, and not uncommonly inaccurate. The reference standard diagnostic monitoring is continuous video-electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring, ideally capturing all events or concordant interictal discharges. Automating EEG data review would save time and resources, thus enabling more people to receive reference standard monitoring and also potentially heralding a more quantitative approach to therapeutic outcomes.

There is substantial research into the automated detection of seizures and epileptic activity from EEG. However, automated detection software is not widely used in the clinic, and despite numerous published algorithms, few methods have regulatory approval for detecting epileptic activity from EEG.

This study reports on a deep learning algorithm for computer-assisted EEG review. Deep convolutional neural networks were trained to detect epileptic discharges using a preexisting dataset of over 6000 labelled events in a cohort of 103 patients with idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE). Patients underwent 24-hour ambulatory outpatient EEG, and all data were curated and confirmed independently by two epilepsy specialists (Seneviratne et al., 2016).

The resulting automated detection algorithm was then used to review diagnostic scalp EEG for seven patients (four with IGE and three with events mimicking seizures) to validate performance in a clinical setting.

The automated detection algorithm showed state-of-the-art performance for detecting epileptic activity from clinical EEG, with mean sensitivity of >95% and corresponding mean false positive rate of 1 detection per minute. Importantly, diagnostic case studies showed that the automated detection algorithm reduced human review time by 80%–99%, without compromising event detection or diagnostic accuracy. The presented results demonstrate that computer-assisted review can increase the speed and accuracy of EEG assessment and has the potential to greatly improve therapeutic outcomes.


Shannon Clarke, Philippa J. Karoly, Ewan Nurse, Mark Cook, Dean R. Freestone, Wendyl D’Souza

Published on 29 October 2019

Epilepsy & Behavior

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