Overlapping neurophysiological signals are the main obstacle preventing from using cortical event-related potentials (ERPs) in clinical settings. Children ERPs are particularly affected by this problem, as their cerebral cortex is still maturing. To overcome this problem, we applied a new version of Spike-density Component Analysis (SCA), an analysis method recently introduced, to isolate with high accuracy the neural components of auditory ERP responses (AEPs) in 8-year-old children. Electroencephalography was used with 33 children to record AEPs to auditory stimuli varying in spectrotemporal features. Three different analysis approaches were adopted: the standard ERP analysis procedure, SCA with template-match (SCA-TM), and SCA with half-split average consistency (SCA-HSAC). SCA-HSAC most successfully allowed the extraction of AEPs for each child, revealing that the most consistent components were P1 and N2. An immature N1 component was also detected. Superior accuracy in isolating neural components at the individual level even in children was demonstrated for SCA-HSAC over other SCA approaches. Reliable methods of extraction of neurophysiological signals at the individual level are crucial for the application of cortical AEPs for routine diagnostic exams in clinical settings both in children and adults.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience