WU-NEAT: A clinically validated, open-source MATLAB toolbox for limited-channel neonatal EEG analysis

Zachary A. Vesoulis, Paul G. Gamble, Siddharth Jain, Nathalie M.El Ters, Steve M. Liao, Amit M. Mathur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Limited-channel EEG research in neonates is hindered by lack of open, accessible analytic tools. To overcome this limitation, we have created the Washington University-Neonatal EEG Analysis Toolbox (WU-NEAT), containing two of the most commonly used tools, provided in an open-source, clinically-validated package running within MATLAB. Methods: The first algorithm is the amplitude-integrated EEG (aEEG), which is generated by filtering, rectifying and time-compressing the original EEG recording, with subsequent semi-logarithmic display. The second algorithm is the spectral edge frequency (SEF), calculated as the critical frequency below which a user-defined proportion of the EEG spectral power is located. The aEEG algorithm was validated by three experienced reviewers. Reviewers evaluated aEEG recordings of fourteen preterm/term infants, displayed twice in random order, once using a reference algorithm and again using the WU-NEAT aEEG algorithm. Using standard methodology, reviewers assigned a background pattern classification. Inter/intra-rater reliability was assessed. For the SEF, calculations were made using the same fourteen recordings, first with the reference and then with the WU-NEAT algorithm. Results were compared using Pearson's correlation coefficient. Results: For the aEEG algorithm, intra- and inter-rater reliability was 100% and 98%, respectively. For the SEF, the mean±SD Pearson correlation coefficient between algorithms was 0.96±0.04. Conclusion: We have demonstrated a clinically-validated toolbox for generating the aEEG as well as calculating the SEF from EEG data. Open-source access will enable widespread use of common analytic algorithms which are device-independent and unlikely to become outdated as technology changes, thereby facilitating future collaborative research in neonatal EEG.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105716
JournalComputer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • EEG
  • Neonates
  • Open source
  • Quantitative methods
  • Spectral edge frequency


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