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Entropy 2017, 19(5), 196;

Symbolic Analysis of Brain Dynamics Detects Negative Stress

Research Group in Electronic, Biomedical and Telecommunication Engineering, University of Castilla-La Mancha, 16071 Cuenca, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Kevin H. Knuth
Received: 3 March 2017 / Revised: 23 April 2017 / Accepted: 26 April 2017 / Published: 28 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbolic Entropy Analysis and Its Applications)
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The electroencephalogram (EEG) is the most common tool used to study mental disorders. In the last years, the use of this recording for recognition of negative stress has been receiving growing attention. However, precise identification of this emotional state is still an interesting unsolved challenge. Nowadays, stress presents a high prevalence in developed countries and, moreover, its chronic condition often leads to concomitant physical and mental health problems. Recently, a measure of time series irregularity, such as quadratic sample entropy (QSEn), has been suggested as a promising single index for discerning between emotions of calm and stress. Unfortunately, this index only considers repetitiveness of similar patterns and, hence, it is unable to quantify successfully dynamics associated with the data temporal structure. With the aim of extending QSEn ability for identification of stress from the EEG signal, permutation entropy (PEn) and its modification to be amplitude-aware (AAPEn) have been analyzed in the present work. These metrics assess repetitiveness of ordinal patterns, thus considering causal information within each one of them and obtaining improved estimates of predictability. Results have shown that PEn and AAPEn present a discriminant power between emotional states of calm and stress similar to QSEn, i.e., around 65%. Additionally, they have also revealed complementary dynamics to those quantified by QSEn, thus suggesting a synchronized behavior between frontal and parietal counterparts from both hemispheres of the brain. More precisely, increased stress levels have resulted in activation of the left frontal and right parietal regions and, simultaneously, in relaxing of the right frontal and left parietal areas. Taking advantage of this brain behavior, a discriminant model only based on AAPEn and QSEn computed from the EEG channels P3 and P4 has reached a diagnostic accuracy greater than 80%, which improves slightly the current state of the art. Moreover, because this classification system is notably easier than others previously proposed, it could be used for continuous monitoring of negative stress, as well as for its regulation towards more positive moods in controlled environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: EEG; negative stress; permutation entropy; symbolic analysis EEG; negative stress; permutation entropy; symbolic analysis

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García-Martínez, B.; Martínez-Rodrigo, A.; Zangróniz, R.; Pastor, J.M.; Alcaraz, R. Symbolic Analysis of Brain Dynamics Detects Negative Stress. Entropy 2017, 19, 196.

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