Brain chirps: Spectrographic signatures of epileptic seizures

Steven J. Schiff, David Colella, Gary M. Jacyna, Elizabeth Hughes, Joseph W. Creekmore, Angela Marshall, Maribeth Bozek-Kuzmicki, George Benke, William D. Gaillard, Joan Conry, Steven R. Weinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Objective: A chirp is a brief signal within which the frequency content changes rapidly. Spectrographic chirps are found in signals produced from many biological and physical phenomena. In radar and sonar engineering, signals with chirps are used to localize direction and range to the signal source. Although characteristic frequency changes during epileptic seizures have long been observed, the correlation with chirps and chirp technology seems never to have been made. Methods: We analyzed 19 404 s (1870 s of which were from 43 seizures) of intracranially (subdural and depth electrode) recorded digital EEG from 6 patients for the presence of spectral chirps. Matched filters were constructed from methods in routine use in non-medical signal processing applications. Results: We found that chirps are very sensitive detectors of seizures (83%), and highly specific as markers (no false positive detections). The feasibility of using spectral chirps as matched filters was demonstrated. Conclusions: Chirps are highly specific and sensitive spectrographic signatures of epileptic seizure activity. In addition, chirps may serve as templates for matched filter design to detect seizures, and as such, can demonstrate localization and propagation of seizures from an epileptic focus. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)953-958
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sensory Systems
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Brain chirps: Spectrographic signatures of epileptic seizures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this