Time-varying bispectral analysis of visually evoked multi-channel EEG
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Qld 4001, Australia
EURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing 2012, 2012:140 doi:10.1186/1687-6180-2012-140Published: 12 July 2012
Theoretical foundations of higher order spectral analysis are revisited to examine the use of time-varying bicoherence on non-stationary signals using a classical short-time Fourier approach. A methodology is developed to apply this to evoked EEG responses where a stimulus-locked time reference is available. Short-time windowed ensembles of the response at the same offset from the reference are considered as ergodic cyclostationary processes within a non-stationary random process. Bicoherence can be estimated reliably with known levels at which it is significantly different from zero and can be tracked as a function of offset from the stimulus. When this methodology is applied to multi-channel EEG, it is possible to obtain information about phase synchronization at different regions of the brain as the neural response develops. The methodology is applied to analyze evoked EEG response to flash visual stimulii to the left and right eye separately. The EEG electrode array is segmented based on bicoherence evolution with time using the mean absolute difference as a measure of dissimilarity. Segment maps confirm the importance of the occipital region in visual processing and demonstrate a link between the frontal and occipital regions during the response. Maps are constructed using bicoherence at bifrequencies that include the alpha band frequency of 8Hz as well as 4 and 20Hz. Differences are observed between responses from the left eye and the right eye, and also between subjects. The methodology shows potential as a neurological functional imaging technique that can be further developed for diagnosis and monitoring using scalp EEG which is less invasive and less expensive than magnetic resonance imaging.