The growing interest in personalized medicine requires making inferences from descriptive indexes estimated from individual recordings of physiological signals, with statistical analyses focused on individual differences between/within subjects, rather than comparing supposedly homogeneous cohorts. To this end, methods to compute confidence limits of individual estimates of descriptive indexes are needed. This study introduces numerical methods to compute such confidence limits and perform statistical comparisons between indexes derived from autoregressive (AR) modeling of individual time series. Analytical approaches are generally not viable, because the indexes are usually nonlinear functions of the AR parameters. We exploit Monte Carlo (MC) and Bootstrap (BS) methods to reproduce the sampling distribution of the AR parameters and indexes computed from them. Here, these methods are implemented for spectral and information-theoretic indexes of heart-rate variability (HRV) estimated from AR models of heart-period time series. First, the MS and BC methods are tested in a wide range of synthetic HRV time series, showing good agreement with a gold-standard approach (i.e. multiple realizations of the "true" process driving the simulation). Then, real HRV time series measured from volunteers performing cognitive tasks are considered, documenting (i) the strong variability of confidence limitsâ width across recordings, (ii) the diversity of individual responses to the same task, and (iii) frequent disagreement between the cohort-average response and that of many individuals. We conclude that MC and BS methods are robust in estimating confidence limits of these AR-based indexes and thus recommended for short-term HRV analysis. Moreover, the strong inter-individual differences in the response to tasks shown by AR-based indexes evidence the need of individual-by-individual assessments of HRV features. Given their generality, MC and BS methods are promising for applications in biomedical signal processing and beyond, providing a powerful new tool for assessing the confidence limits of indexes estimated from individual recordings.
|Numero di pagine||22|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2017|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes