Sensing with deep brain stimulation device in epilepsy: aperiodic changes in thalamic local field potential during seizures

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OBJECTIVE: Thalamic deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an effective therapeutic option in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. Recent DBS devices with sensing capabilities enable chronic, outpatient local field potential (LFP) recordings. Whereas beta oscillations have been demonstrated to be a useful biomarker in movement disorders, the clinical utility of DBS sensing in epilepsy remains unclear. Our aim was to determine LFP features that distinguish ictal from inter-ictal states, which may aid in tracking seizure outcomes with DBS. METHODS: Electrophysiology data were obtained from DBS devices implanted in the anterior nucleus (N = 12) or centromedian nucleus (N = 2) of the thalamus. Power spectra recorded during patient/caregiver-marked seizure events were analyzed with a method that quantitatively separates the oscillatory and non-oscillatory/aperiodic components of the LFP using non-parametric statistics, without the need for pre-specification of the frequency bands of interest. Features of the LFP parameterized using this algorithm were compared with those from inter-ictal power spectra recorded in clinic. RESULTS: Oscillatory activity in multiple canonical frequency bands was identified from the power spectra in 86.48% of patient-marked seizure events. Delta oscillations were present in all patients, followed by theta (N = 10) and beta (N = 9). While there were no differences in oscillatory LFP features between the ictal and inter-ictal states, there was a steeper decline in the 1/f slope of the aperiodic component of the LFP during seizures. SIGNIFICANCE: Our work highlights the potential and shortcomings of chronic LFP recordings in thalamic DBS for epilepsy. Findings suggest that no single frequency band in isolation clearly differentiates seizures, and that features of aperiodic LFP activity may be clinically-relevant biomarkers of seizures.

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