EEG Complexity as a Biomarker for Autism Spectrum Disorder Risk

William Bosl1,2*, Adrienne Tierney3,4, Helen Tager-Flusberg5, Charles Nelson1,4


Background: Complex neurodevelopmental disorders may be characterized by subtle brain function signatures early in life before behavioral symptoms are apparent. Such endophenotypes may be measurable biomarkers for later cognitive impairments. The nonlinear complexity of electroencephalography (EEG) signals is believed to contain information about the architecture of the neural networks in the brain on many scales. Early detection of abnormalities in EEG signals may be an early biomarker for developmental cognitive disorders. The goal of this paper is to demonstrate that the modified multiscale entropy (mMSE) computed on the basis of resting state EEG data can be used as a biomarker of normal brain development and distinguish typically developing children from a group of infants at high risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), defined on the basis of an older sibling with ASD.
Methods: Using mMSE as a feature vector, a multiclass support vector machine algorithm was used to classify typically developing and high-risk groups. Classification was computed separately within each age group from 6 to 24 months.

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