Indexed on: 20 Dec '18Published on: 20 Dec '18Published in: International journal of neural systems
The study of connectivity patterns of a system's variables, such as multi-channel electroencephalograms (EEG), is of utmost importance towards a better understanding of its internal evolutionary mechanisms. Here, the problem of estimating the connectivity network from multivariate time series in the presence of prominent unobserved variables is addressed. The causality measure of partial mutual information from mixed embedding (PMIME), designed to estimate direct lag-causal effects in the presence of many observed variables, is adapted to estimate also zero-lag effects, the so-called instantaneous causality. We term the proposed advanced method, PMIME0. The estimation of instantaneous causality by PMIME0 is a signature of the presence of hidden source in the observed system, as demonstrated analytically in a toy model. It is further demonstrated that the PMIME0 identifies the true instantaneous with great accuracy in a variety of high-dimensional dynamical systems. The method is applied to EEG data with epileptiform discharges (EDs), and the results imply a strong impact of unobserved confounders during the EDs. This finding comes as a possible explanation for the increased levels of causality during epileptic seizures estimated by some measures affected by the presence of a common source.