Google Research

Canonical Response Parameterization: Quantifying the structure of responses to single-pulse intracranial electrical brain stimulation

  • Kai J. Miller
  • Klaus-Robert Müller
  • Gabriela Ojeda Valencia
  • Harvey Huang
  • Nicholas M. Gregg
  • Gregory A. Worrell
  • Dora Hermes
Plos Computational Biology, vol. 19(5) (2023), e1011105


Single-pulse electrical stimulation in the nervous system, often called cortico-cortical evoked potential (CCEP) measurement, is an important technique to understand how brain regions interact with one another. Voltages are measured from implanted electrodes in one brain area while stimulating another with brief current impulses separated by several seconds. Historically, researchers have tried to understand the significance of evoked voltage polyphasic deflections by visual inspection, but no general-purpose tool has emerged to understand their shapes or describe them mathematically. We describe and illustrate a new technique to parameterize brain stimulation data, where voltage response traces are projected into one another using a semi-normalized dot product. The length of timepoints from stimulation included in the dot product is varied to obtain a temporal profile of structural significance, and the peak of the profile uniquely identifies the duration of the response. Using linear kernel PCA, a canonical response shape is obtained over this duration, and then single-trial traces are parameterized as a projection of this canonical shape with a residual term. Such parameterization allows for dissimilar trace shapes from different brain areas to be directly compared by quantifying cross-projection magnitudes, response duration, canonical shape projection amplitudes, signal-to-noise ratios, explained variance, and statistical significance. Artifactual trials are automatically identified by outliers in sub-distributions of cross-projection magnitude, and rejected. This technique, which we call “Canonical Response Parameterization” (CRP) dramatically simplifies the study of CCEP shapes, and may also be applied in a wide range of other settings involving event-triggered data.

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