A wavelet based method for automatic detection of slow eye movements: A pilot study

Elisa Magosso, Federica Provini, Pasquale Montagna, Mauro Ursino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electro-oculographic (EOG) activity during the wake-sleep transition is characterized by the appearance of slow eye movements (SEM). The present work describes an algorithm for the automatic localisation of SEM events from EOG recordings. The algorithm is based on a wavelet multiresolution analysis of the difference between right and left EOG tracings, and includes three main steps: (i) wavelet decomposition down to 10 detail levels (i.e., 10 scales), using Daubechies order 4 wavelet; (ii) computation of energy in 0.5 s time steps at any level of decomposition; (iii) construction of a non-linear discriminant function expressing the relative energy of high-scale details to both high- and low-scale details. The main assumption is that the value of the discriminant function increases above a given threshold during SEM episodes due to energy redistribution toward higher scales. Ten EOG recordings from ten male patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome were used. All tracings included a period from pre-sleep wakefulness to stage 2 sleep. Two experts inspected the tracings separately to score SEMs. A reference set of SEM (gold standard) were obtained by joint examination by both experts. Parameters of the discriminant function were assigned on three tracings (design set) to minimize the disagreement between the system classification and classification by the two experts; the algorithm was then tested on the remaining seven tracings (test set). Results show that the agreement between the algorithm and the gold standard was 80.44 ± 4.09%, the sensitivity of the algorithm was 67.2 ± 7.37% and the selectivity 83.93 ± 8.65%. However, most errors were not caused by an inability of the system to detect intervals with SEM activity against NON-SEM intervals, but were due to a different localisation of the beginning and end of some SEM episodes. The proposed method may be a valuable tool for computerized EOG analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)860-875
Number of pages16
JournalMedical Engineering and Physics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006


  • Biomedical signal processing
  • Electro-oculogram
  • Multiresolution decomposition
  • Polysomnography
  • Slow eye movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'A wavelet based method for automatic detection of slow eye movements: A pilot study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this