Non-invasive wearable seizure detection using long-short-term memory networks with transfer learning

Mona Nasseri, Tal Pal Attia, Boney Joseph, Nicholas M. Gregg, Ewan S. Nurse, Pedro F. Viana, Andreas Schulze-Bonhage, Matthias Dümpelmann, Gregory Worrell, Dean R. Freestone, Mark P. Richardson, Benjamin H. Brinkmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. The detection of seizures using wearable devices would improve epilepsy management, but reliable detection of seizures in an ambulatory environment remains challenging, and current studies lack concurrent validation of seizures using electroencephalography (EEG) data. Approach. An adaptively trained long-short-term memory deep neural network was developed and trained using a modest number of seizure data sets from wrist-worn devices. Transfer learning was used to adapt a classifier that was initially trained on intracranial electroencephalography (iEEG) signals to facilitate classification of non-EEG physiological datasets comprising accelerometry, blood volume pulse, skin electrodermal activity, heart rate, and temperature signals. The algorithm's performance was assessed with and without pre-training on iEEG signals and transfer learning. To assess the performance of the seizure detection classifier using long-term ambulatory data, wearable devices were used for multiple months with an implanted neurostimulator capable of recording iEEG signals, which provided independent electrographic seizure detections that were reviewed by a board-certified epileptologist. Main results. For 19 motor seizures from 10 in-hospital patients, the algorithm yielded a mean area under curve (AUC), a sensitivity, and an false alarm rate per day (FAR/day) of 0.98, 0.93, and 2.3, respectively. Additionally, for eight seizures with probable motor semiology from two ambulatory patients, the classifier achieved a mean AUC of 0.97 and an FAR of 2.45 events/day at a sensitivity of 0.9. For all seizure types in the ambulatory setting, the classifier had a mean AUC of 0.82 with a sensitivity of 0.47 and an FAR of 7.2 events/day. Significance. The performance of the algorithm was evaluated using motor and non-motor seizures during in-hospital and ambulatory use. The classifier was able to detect multiple types of motor and non-motor seizures, but performed significantly better on motor seizures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number056017
JournalJournal of neural engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • epilepsy
  • machine learning
  • seizure detection
  • wearable devices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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