Predicting Clinical Response to Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Major Depression Using Time-Frequency EEG Signal Processing

SOURCE: Biomedical Engineering – Applications, Basis and Communications. (no pagination), 2021. Article Number: 2150048. Date of Publication: 2021.

AUTHORS: Ebrahimzadeh E.; Asgarinejad M.; Saliminia S.; Ashoori S.; Seraji M.

ABSTRACT: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is defined as a noninvasive technique of brain stimulation conducted for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. rTMS can effectively excite the brain neurons and increase brain plasticity, which becomes particularly useful in psychiatric and neurological fields. Biomarkers that predict clinical outcomes in depression are essential for increasing the precision of treatments and clinical outcomes. The electroencephalogram (EEG) is a noninvasive neurophysiological test that is promising as a biomarker sensitive to treatment effects. The aim of our study was to investigate a novel nonlinear index of the resting state EEG activity as a predictor of clinical outcome and compare its predictive capacity to traditional frequency-based indices. EEG was recorded from 50 patients with treatment resistant depression (TRD) and 24 healthy comparison (HC) subjects. TRD patients were treated with excitatory rTMS to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) for 4-6 weeks. EEG signals were first decomposed using the ICA algorithm and the extracted components were then processed by time-frequency analysis. We then go on to compare the participants’ depression severity before, after, and 2 months after finishing the last treatment session using the proposed rTMS therapy. Absolute powers (APs), band powers (BPs), and theta and beta band entropies (BAs), which were extracted from the EEG, are used as features for the classification of changes in patients and normal cases after applying rTMS. Accordingly, we can go beyond the Beck score and clinically classify the EEG signal into two classes: depression and normal. The results demonstrated 78.37%, 74.32%, and 82.43% accuracy for artificial neural network (ANN), k-nearest neighbor (KNN), and support vector machine (SVM) classifiers, respectively, indicating the superiority of the proposed method to those mentioned in similar studies. Also, the electrophysiological changes are shown to be evident in patients with major depression. Our data show that the time-frequency index yields superior outcome prediction performance compared to the traditional frequency band indices. Our findings warrant further investigation of EEG-based biomarkers in depression.