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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Interictal Epileptiform Discharges and the Quality of Human Intracranial Neurophysiology Data.

  • Author(s): Ammanuel, Simon G
  • Kleen, Jonathan K
  • Leonard, Matthew K
  • Chang, Edward F
  • et al.

Intracranial electroencephalography (IEEG) involves recording from electrodes placed directly onto the cortical surface or deep brain locations. It is performed on patients with medically refractory epilepsy, undergoing pre-surgical seizure localization. IEEG recordings, combined with advancements in computational capacity and analysis tools, have accelerated cognitive neuroscience. This Perspective describes a potential pitfall latent in many of these recordings by virtue of the subject population-namely interictal epileptiform discharges (IEDs), which can cause spurious results due to the contamination of normal neurophysiological signals by pathological waveforms related to epilepsy. We first discuss the nature of IED hazards, and why they deserve the attention of neurophysiology researchers. We then describe four general strategies used when handling IEDs (manual identification, automated identification, manual-automated hybrids, and ignoring by leaving them in the data), and discuss their pros, cons, and contextual factors. Finally, we describe current practices of human neurophysiology researchers worldwide based on a cross-sectional literature review and a voluntary survey. We put these results in the context of the listed strategies and make suggestions on improving awareness and clarity of reporting to enrich both data quality and communication in the field.

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