Brain Vital Signs: Expanding From the Auditory to Visual Modality

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Graduate student (Masters)
Final version published as: 

Pawlowski GM, Ghosh-Hajra S, Fickling SD, Liu CC, Song X, Robinovitch S, Doesburg SM and D'Arcy RCN (2019) Brain Vital Signs: Expanding From the Auditory to Visual Modality. Front. Neurosci. 12:968. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00968

Date created: 
2019-01-18
Keywords: 
Electroencephalogram (EEG)
Event-related potentials (ERPs)
Clinical assessment
Neurology
Point-of-care
Vital signs
Abstract: 

The critical need for rapid objective, physiological evaluation of brain function at point-of-care has led to the emergence of brain vital signs—a framework encompassing a portable electroencephalography (EEG) and an automated, quick test protocol. This framework enables access to well-established event-related potential (ERP) markers, which are specific to sensory, attention, and cognitive functions in both healthy and patient populations. However, all our applications to-date have used auditory stimulation, which have highlighted application challenges in persons with hearing impairments (e.g., aging, seniors, dementia). Consequently, it has become important to translate brain vital signs into a visual sensory modality. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to: 1) demonstrate the feasibility of visual brain vital signs; and 2) compare and normalize results from visual and auditory brain vital signs. Data were collected from 34 healthy adults (33 ± 13 years) using a 64-channel EEG system. Visual and auditory sequences were kept as comparable as possible to elicit the N100, P300, and N400 responses. Visual brain vital signs were elicited successfully for all three responses across the group (N100: F = 29.8380, p < 0.001; P300: F = 138.8442, p < 0.0001; N400: F = 6.8476, p = 0.01). Initial auditory-visual comparisons across the three components showed attention processing (P300) was found to be the most transferrable across modalities, with no group-level differences and correlated peak amplitudes (rho = 0.7, p = 0.0001) across individuals. Auditory P300 latencies were shorter than visual (p < 0.0001) but normalization and correlation (r = 0.5, p = 0.0033) implied a potential systematic difference across modalities. Reduced auditory N400 amplitudes compared to visual (p = 0.0061) paired with normalization and correlation across individuals (r = 0.6, p = 0.0012), also revealed potential systematic modality differences between reading and listening language comprehension. This study provides an initial understanding of the relationship between the visual and auditory sequences, while importantly establishing a visual sequence within the brain vital signs framework. With both auditory and visual stimulation capabilities available, it is possible to broaden applications across the lifespan.

The critical need for rapid objective, physiological evaluation of brain function at point-of-care has led to the emergence of brain vital signs—a framework encompassing a portable electroencephalography (EEG) and an automated, quick test protocol. This framework enables access to well-established event-related potential (ERP) markers, which are specific to sensory, attention, and cognitive functions in both healthy and patient populations. However, all our applications to-date have used auditory stimulation, which have highlighted application challenges in persons with hearing impairments (e.g., aging, seniors, dementia). Consequently, it has become important to translate brain vital signs into a visual sensory modality. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to: 1) demonstrate the feasibility of visual brain vital signs; and 2) compare and normalize results from visual and auditory brain vital signs. Data were collected from 34 healthy adults (33 ± 13 years) using a 64-channel EEG system. Visual and auditory sequences were kept as comparable as possible to elicit the N100, P300, and N400 responses. Visual brain vital signs were elicited successfully for all three responses across the group (N100: F = 29.8380, p < 0.001; P300: F = 138.8442, p < 0.0001; N400: F = 6.8476, p = 0.01). Initial auditory-visual comparisons across the three components showed attention processing (P300) was found to be the most transferrable across modalities, with no group-level differences and correlated peak amplitudes (rho = 0.7, p = 0.0001) across individuals. Auditory P300 latencies were shorter than visual (p < 0.0001) but normalization and correlation (r = 0.5, p = 0.0033) implied a potential systematic difference across modalities. Reduced auditory N400 amplitudes compared to visual (p = 0.0061) paired with normalization and correlation across individuals (r = 0.6, p = 0.0012), also revealed potential systematic modality differences between reading and listening language comprehension. This study provides an initial understanding of the relationship between the visual and auditory sequences, while importantly establishing a visual sequence within the brain vital signs framework. With both auditory and visual stimulation capabilities available, it is possible to broaden applications across the lifespan.

Language: 
English
Document type: 
Article
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