Time-varying effective connectivity of the cortical neuroelectric activity associated with behavioural microsleeps

Jlenia Toppi, Laura Astolfi, Govinda R. Poudel, Carrie R H Innes, Fabio Babiloni, Richard D. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


An episode of complete failure to respond during an attentive task accompanied by behavioural signs of sleep is called a behavioural microsleep. We proposed a combination of high-resolution EEG and an advanced method for time-varying effective connectivity estimation for reconstructing the temporal evolution of the causal relations between cortical regions when microsleeps occur during a continuous visuomotor task. We found connectivity patterns involving left–right frontal, left–right parietal, and left-frontal/right-parietal connections commencing in the interval [− 500; − 250] ms prior to the onset of microsleeps and disappearing at the end of the microsleeps. Our results from global graph indices derived from effective connectivity analysis have revealed EEG-based biomarkers of all stages of microsleeps (preceding, onset, pre-recovery, recovery). In particular, this raises the possibility of being able to predict microsleeps in real-world tasks and initiate a ‘wake-up’ intervention to avert the microsleeps and, hence, prevent injurious and even multi-fatality accidents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-432
Number of pages12
Issue numberPart A
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • behavioural microsleeps
  • effective connectivity
  • graph theory
  • time-varying connectivity
  • EEG

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