The combination of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electroencephalography (EEG) offers an unparalleled opportunity to study cortical physiology by characterizing brain electrical responses to external perturbation, called transcranial-evoked potentials (TEPs). Although these reflect cortical post-synaptic potentials, they can be contaminated by auditory evoked potentials (AEPs) due to the TMS click, which partly show a similar spatial and temporal scalp distribution. Therefore, TEPs and AEPs can be difficult to disentangle by common statistical methods, especially in conditions of suboptimal AEP suppression. In this work, we explored the ability of machine learning algorithms to distinguish TEPs recorded with masking of the TMS click, AEPs and non-masked TEPs in a sample of healthy subjects. Overall, our classifier provided reliable results at the single-subject level, even for signals where differences were not shown in previous works. Classification accuracy (CA) was lower at the group level, when different subjects were used for training and test phases, and when three stimulation conditions instead of two were compared. Lastly, CA was higher when average, rather than single-trial TEPs, were used. In conclusion, this proof-of-concept study proposes machine learning as a promising tool to separate pure TEPs from those contaminated by sensory input.
2023, BRAIN SCIENCES, Pages 866- (volume: 13)
Machine Learning-Based Classification to Disentangle EEG Responses to TMS and Auditory Input (01a Articolo in rivista)
Cristofari A., De Santis M., Lucidi S., Rothwell J., Casula E. P., Rocchi L.