Evoked potentials (EPs) can easily and non-invasively record the electrical response of nerves to sensory stimuli. The evoked response can be quantified by measuring the peak amplitude and delay in the millisecond (ms) domain, and they provide numerical data as a quantitative extension of neurological examination.
Advantages of EPs
- More sensitive than detailed neurological examination;
- These tests can be recorded in anesthetized or unconscious patients;
- Replace magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess multiple sclerosis.
Disadvantages of EPs
- Rarely target specific diseases;
- May be confused by end-stage organ diseases and affected by age;
- A certain degree of cooperation of patients is required to obtain results without external influence.
Application of Evoked Potentials in Diseases
Our brain constantly receives signals from the body and the environment to affect perception. It is not clear whether these effects are related to the disease, or whether they are early sensory effects or late decision-making processes. Generally, any sensory mode can be tested by evoked potentials, the following three most common sensory modes are often closely related to disease assessment.
VEP provides a sensitive indication of abnormal conduction in the visual pathway. The increase in bone streak conduction time caused by degreasing and other processes can be detected by measuring the delay of this cortical response, and it is widely used in the investigation of defoliation, optic neuritis, and other optic neuropathies.
Fig.1 VEPs detected the phase and amplitude from the Oz channel in the center of the visual cortex. (Waytowich, 2018)
BAEP assessment is conducted through the auditory pathways of the lower brain system. It is used to investigate patients who may have multiple sclerosis, brain stem and posterior fossa structural lesions, intraoperative monitoring of the integrity of the auditory pathway during neurosurgical resection of posterior fossa tumor, and as a guideline for the prognosis of ICU post-traumatic and axial coma.
SSEP is commonly used to investigate patients who may have multiple sclerosis, migraine, and fibroids, to monitor the integrity of sensory pathways during surgical correction of spinal curvature during surgery, and as a guideline for the prognosis of ICU post-traumatic and hypoxic coma.
Fig.2 Block diagram of the proposed migraine state classification system. (Zhu, 2019)
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- Waytowich, N.; et al. Compact convolutional neural networks for classification of asynchronous steady-state visual evoked potentials. Journal of neural engineering. 2018, 15(6): 066031.
- Zhu, B.; et al. Migraine classification using somatosensory evoked potentials. Cephalalgia. 2019, 39(9): 1143-1155.