Identifying seizure risk factors: A comparison of sleep, weather, and temporal features using a Bayesian forecast

Daniel E. Payne, Katrina L. Dell, Phillipa J. Karoly, Vaclav Kremen, Vaclav Gerla, Levin Kuhlmann, Gregory A. Worrell, Mark J. Cook, David B. Grayden, Dean R. Freestone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Most seizure forecasting algorithms have relied on features specific to electroencephalographic recordings. Environmental and physiological factors, such as weather and sleep, have long been suspected to affect brain activity and seizure occurrence but have not been fully explored as prior information for seizure forecasts in a patient-specific analysis. The study aimed to quantify whether sleep, weather, and temporal factors (time of day, day of week, and lunar phase) can provide predictive prior probabilities that may be used to improve seizure forecasts. Methods: This study performed post hoc analysis on data from eight patients with a total of 12.2 years of continuous intracranial electroencephalographic recordings (average = 1.5 years, range = 1.0–2.1 years), originally collected in a prospective trial. Patients also had sleep scoring and location-specific weather data. Histograms of future seizure likelihood were generated for each feature. The predictive utility of individual features was measured using a Bayesian approach to combine different features into an overall forecast of seizure likelihood. Performance of different feature combinations was compared using the area under the receiver operating curve. Performance evaluation was pseudoprospective. Results: For the eight patients studied, seizures could be predicted above chance accuracy using sleep (five patients), weather (two patients), and temporal features (six patients). Forecasts using combined features performed significantly better than chance in six patients. For four of these patients, combined forecasts outperformed any individual feature. Significance: Environmental and physiological data, including sleep, weather, and temporal features, provide significant predictive information on upcoming seizures. Although forecasts did not perform as well as algorithms that use invasive intracranial electroencephalography, the results were significantly above chance. Complementary signal features derived from an individual's historic seizure records may provide useful prior information to augment traditional seizure detection or forecasting algorithms. Importantly, many predictive features used in this study can be measured noninvasively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-382
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • circadian
  • forecasting
  • seizure
  • sleep
  • weather

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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