Physiological and pathological high frequency oscillations in focal epilepsy

Jan Cimbalnik, Benjamin Brinkmann, Vaclav Kremen, Pavel Jurak, Brent Berry, Jamie Van Gompel, Matt Stead, Greg Worrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective: This study investigates high-frequency oscillations (HFOs; 65–600 Hz) as a biomarker of epileptogenic brain and explores three barriers to their clinical translation: (1) Distinguishing pathological HFOs (pathHFO) from physiological HFOs (physHFO). (2) Classifying tissue under individual electrodes as epileptogenic (3) Reproducing results across laboratories. Methods: We recorded HFOs using intracranial EEG (iEEG) in 90 patients with focal epilepsy and 11 patients without epilepsy. In nine patients with epilepsy putative physHFOs were induced by cognitive or motor tasks. HFOs were identified using validated detectors. A support vector machine (SVM) using HFO features was developed to classify tissue under individual electrodes as normal or epileptogenic. Results: There was significant overlap in the amplitude, frequency, and duration distributions for spontaneous physHFO, task induced physHFO, and pathHFO, but the amplitudes of the pathHFO were higher (P < 0.0001). High gamma pathHFO had the strongest association with seizure onset zone (SOZ), and were elevated on SOZ electrodes in 70% of epilepsy patients (P < 0.0001). Failure to resect tissue generating high gamma pathHFO was associated with poor outcomes (P < 0.0001). A SVM classified individual electrodes as epileptogenic with 63.9% sensitivity and 73.7% specificity using SOZ as the target. Interpretation: A broader range of interictal pathHFO (65–600 Hz) than previously recognized are biomarkers of epileptogenic brain, and are associated with SOZ and surgical outcome. Classification of HFOs into physiological or pathological remains challenging. Classification of tissue under individual electrodes was demonstrated to be feasible. The open source data and algorithms provide a resource for future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1062-1076
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of Clinical and Translational Neurology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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