A Machine Learning Framework for Automatic and Continuous MMN Detection With Preliminary Results for Coma Outcome Prediction
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Mismatch negativity (MMN) is a component of the event-related potential (ERP) that is elicited through an odd-ball paradigm. The existence of the MMN in a coma patient has a good correlation with coma emergence; however, this component can be difficult to detect. Previously, MMN detection was based on visual inspection of the averaged ERPs by a skilled clinician, a process that is expensive and not always feasible in practice. In this paper, we propose a practical machine learning (ML) based approach for detection of MMN component, thus, improving the accuracy of prediction of emergence from coma. Furthermore, the method can operate on an automatic and continuous basis thus alleviating the need for clinician involvement. The proposed method is capable of the MMN detection over intervals as short as two minutes. This finer time resolution enables identification of waxing and waning cycles of a conscious state. An auditory odd-ball paradigm was applied to 22 healthy subjects and 2 coma patients. A coma patient is tested by measuring the similarity of the patient's ERP responses with the aggregate healthy responses. Because the training process for measuring similarity requires only healthy subjects, the complexity and practicality of training procedure of the proposed method are greatly improved relative to training on coma patients directly. Since there are only two coma patients involved with this study, the results are reported on a very preliminary basis. Preliminary results indicate we can detect the MMN component with an accuracy of 92.7% on healthy subjects. The method successfully predicted emergence in both coma patients when conventional methods failed. The proposed method for collecting training data using exclusively healthy subjects is a novel approach that may prove useful in future, unrelated studies where ML methods are used.