Extraction of single-trial cortical beta oscillatory activities in EEG signals using empirical mode decomposition

Chia Lung Yeh, Hsiang Chih Chang, Chi Hsun Wu, Po Lei Lee

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22 Scopus citations


Background: Brain oscillatory activities are stochastic and non-linearly dynamic, due to their non-phase-locked nature and inter-trial variability. Non-phase-locked rhythmic signals can vary from trial-to-trial dependent upon variations in a subject's performance and state, which may be linked to fluctuations in expectation, attention, arousal, and task strategy. Therefore, a method that permits the extraction of the oscillatory signal on a single-trial basis is important for the study of subtle brain dynamics, which can be used as probes to study neurophysiology in normal brain and pathophysiology in the diseased.Methods: This paper presents an empirical mode decomposition (EMD)-based spatiotemporal approach to extract neural oscillatory activities from multi-channel electroencephalograph (EEG) data. The efficacy of this approach manifests in extracting single-trial post-movement beta activities when performing a right index-finger lifting task. In each single trial, an EEG epoch recorded at the channel of interest (CI) was first separated into a number of intrinsic mode functions (IMFs). Sensorimotor-related oscillatory activities were reconstructed from sensorimotor-related IMFs chosen by a spatial map matching process. Post-movement beta activities were acquired by band-pass filtering the sensorimotor-related oscillatory activities within a trial-specific beta band. Signal envelopes of post-movement beta activities were detected using amplitude modulation (AM) method to obtain post-movement beta event-related synchronization (PM-bERS). The maximum amplitude in the PM-bERS within the post-movement period was subtracted by the mean amplitude of the reference period to find the single-trial beta rebound (BR).Results: The results showed single-trial BRs computed by the current method were significantly higher than those obtained from conventional average method (P < 0.01; matched-pair Wilcoxon test). The proposed method provides high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) through an EMD-based decomposition and reconstruction process, which enables event-related oscillatory activities to be examined on a single-trial basis.Conclusions: The EMD-based method is effective for artefact removal and extracting reliable neural features of non-phase-locked oscillatory activities in multi-channel EEG data. The high extraction rate of the proposed method enables the trial-by-trial variability of oscillatory activities can be examined, which provide a possibility for future profound study of subtle brain dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
JournalBioMedical Engineering Online
StatePublished - 17 Jun 2010


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