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1.1 Background
The word stress, like success, failure or happiness means different things
for different people and except for a few specialized scientists; no one has really
tried to define it, although it has became part of our daily vocabulary. The
scientific interest of stress in relevance to health and disease began to develop in
the 20th century, when Selye started his work on stress with more suited scientific
analysis [1], and now stress has been accepted to be a state, comprised of certain
psychophysiological reactions that prepare an organism for action [2]. It is usually
described to be an essential component that is enabling the organism to survive in
the hostile environment and to make an effort to compensate with the altered
situation of the stressful conditions. Selye defined stress as nonspecific responses
of the body to any demand [1]. Though in some respect, every demand made on
the body is unique and specific, but all stress, however, have one thing in
common; they increase the demand for the readjustment for performance of
adaptive functions, which reestablish normally. Generally, stress is meant to be
acute or at least of a limited duration. The time limited nature of this process
renders its accompanying antianabolic, catabolic and immunosuppressive effects
temporarily beneficial and of no adverse consequences. Chronically and
excessiveness of stress system activation, on the other hand, would lead to the
syndromal state [3] that severe chronic disease of any etiology could present with
anorexia, loss of weight, depression, and peptic ulcers.
Environmental heat is one of the well-known stressor to the mankind.
Although, the problems of heat-afflicted illness are receiving increased importance
in view of the current estimates of global warming and its impact on biological
systems, the etiological factors that lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke have
not been well established. However, the failure of cardiovascular system had been
thought to be an important factor. Inadequate acclimatization also appears to be a
significant factor predisposing to the onset of heat stroke. Review of literature


revealed that the afflictions and damages to the central nervous system (CNS)
imposed by high environmental temperature have largely been ignored as the
likely cause of heat induced mortality, although it is well known that
neurochemical and cellular mechanisms of neural tissues are highly temperature
sensitive [4]
There are two major opinions to explain brain damage following heat
stress: (a) the thermal environment temperature and resulting hyperthermia can
induce shock causing damage to the brain; (b) collapse of circulatory system
followed by insufficient blood supply to the brain, causing ischemia and brain
damage [5]. Experiments on animals indicate that increase in high environmental
heat produces neuronal changes in brain and profound alteration in brain electrical
activities [6, 7]. These observations indicate that hot environment may influence
the cortical electrical activity, recorded from brain.
The observations suggest that damage of CNS depends directly on the
magnitude and severity of heat exposed (acute or chronic) of thermal load and the
physiological states of animals prior to heat exposure [5]. The histopathological
changes in brain following hot environmental stress are also studied well [5].
Literatures suggest that neurons and nerve cells are affected in different ways in
thermal loads and the brain electrophysiology present apparent changes in EEG
signals following heat stress. However, the literature survey shows no systematic
study in EEG spectral changes in various sleep-wake stages in animals after hot
environmental stress.
The brain signals or electroencephalogram (EEG) are the records of
spontaneous electrical activity of cerebral cortex. The potentials recorded at the
surface vary in polarity in a rhythmical fashion. It is considered that EEG records
occur over a wide range, which have been divided into a number of recognized
bands, namely, 0.5- 4 Hz (delta or ∂), 4 - 8 Hz (theta or θ), 8 - 13 Hz (alpha or α)
and 13 - 35 Hz (beta or β), [8]. EEG responses are relatively short duration, non-
periodic signals produced randomly as a response to some kind of stimulus. It is a
common practice to describe the responses in terms of their magnitude maxima
and minima (peak amplitudes) and their locations relative to stimulus onset
(latency) [9]. The shapes of complex waves of EEG and responses may depend on


the time relationships or phases of their components as well as upon their

amplitudes [10, 11, 12]. Hence, analysis of analog records need physician’s skill
and requires much labor.
The sleep is inseparably linked with the central nervous system, the sense
organs and the thalamocortical integrative system. It is considered as an essential
or obligatory function, which is helpful in combating stress, and thereby affecting
mood, by recognizing the past memories [13]. The amplitude and frequency of
brain electrical activity or EEG varies in different sleep-wake stages. The
synchronization of brain electrical activity is well pronounced during slow wave
sleep (SWS) due to the domination of the thalamocortical integrative system. It is
assumed that the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is an analogue of the ‘gaze-
wakefulness’ consolidated in the course of mammals and demonstrated that the
acceleration of discharges of certain neurons correlated with REM; the frequency
and duration of the responses of a neuron directly corresponded to the parameters
of the REM sleep.
The most accurate way to assess the depth of sleep is through polygraphic
recording of electrophysiological signals, which has been done for the last several
decades in different psychiatric and clinical EEG laboratories to extract
information, which are not available in wake and resting states. The majority of
investigators identify sleep stages in animals with the aid of EEG, EOG
(Electrooculogram), EMG (Electromyogram), ECG (Electrocardiogram) and
pneumogram [14]. Now, it is established that sleep stages could be classified by
the recording of only three channels of bioelectric signals, such as EEG, EOG and
EMG. The eye movement recording (EOG) and muscle activity (EMG) present
definitive changes in REM sleep in addition to the recording of EEG signals.
However, the sleep classification has always been a challenging task for the
clinical electroencephalographers, whether it is performed by visual review of
paper records or with automated computer analysis. Most of the previous attempts
to classify the sleep stages were based on threshold criteria and determined by
whether or not the data set is greater than these threshold values. To overcome the
problems faced by electroencephalographers in detection of sleep stages, Artificial
Neural Networks (ANNs) have been used [15]. ANNs have been employed


successfully for many pattern recognition problems of EEG, such as spectral

component [16], K-complex detection [17], event related potentials (ERPs)
classification [18], classification of the evoked potentials [19] and for recognition
of epileptic patterns. Recently, ANN has been applied for the classification of
sleep stages [15, 20, 21, 22], where the recognition rate was found to vary from
65% to 94% in comparison with the manual sleep stage scoring. On the other
hand, successful and effective use of ANN for identifying EEG power spectra in
different sleep-wake states in depressed rats has already been reported earlier [23,
24 25].A new method for sleep heat stress level classification using fuzzy
techniques has been studied here. The adopted method reported high accuracy for
the classification purpose. However, literatures suggest that the automated
recognition of stressful conditions through a noninvasive tool, such as EEG has
been poorly reported.
Over the years, various signal processing techniques have been applied to
the analysis of clinical EEG signals since EEG was discovered by Hans Berger in
1929. In the past twenty years, different analysis methods have been developed
with the purpose of supplying trivial classification. Statistical pattern recognition
was one of the first methods used for sleep staging. In this method, quantitative
features in terms of intervals were extracted from EEG and optimized [26]. A
piece-wise segmentation and clustering techniques had also been developed, that
was based on the assumption that an EEG consists of finite number of elementary
patterns, which may be determined by dividing the signals a priori into segments
of one second each [27, 28]. Among several signal-processing techniques applied
for EEG analysis, power spectrum analysis using the fast Fourier transform (FFT)
is one of the most popular methods to estimate frequency and amplitude changes
in different pathological and psychological states [29, 30]. However, FFT was
used only for spectral analysis of the signal in segmental manner and it does not
provide the time information of occurrence of the event. In contrary, the wavelet
transform analysis is efficient to provide time-frequency information
simultaneously, and effectively used in many biomedical signal analysis [31, 32,


This thesis approaches the sleep stage and heat stress classification problem
through the use and attributes of frequency domain features and fuzzy logic. The
ability of the Fuzzy Inference System to take into account the absence of certainty
or crisp sets makes it perfect for this application. The physiological observations
made in earlier works are germane to the current fuzzy logic techniques for
formulating the fuzzy rules. The physiological observations mostly deal with
changes that happen in the different frequency bands. These changes in the
frequency bands were captured using their band power or relative band power.
The changes in the different frequency band powers were found to be
varying for chronic condition, where the subject is exposed to heat stress for a
long time repetitively, and for acute condition, where the subjects stayed under
heat stress for less time. Some changes were found to be permanent while others
recondite. Also, for different sleep stages the changes in their respective band
power are found to be different. Thus each sleep stage and stress level has been
studied and expounded in further chapters.
A normal sleep stage consists of five stages:-NREM-1, NREM-2, NREM-
3, NREM-4 and REM sleep. NREM-1 or Awake (AWA)is the stage between
wakefulness and drowsiness, NREM-2, 3&4 or Slow wave sleep (SWS) is
characterized by decrease in responsiveness to environment, REM is
characterized by rapid eye movement and also referred to as dreaming phase. The
American association of Sleep Medicine (AASM) characterizes the different
stages of sleep based on different physiological changes during these stages [233].
This paper classifies sleep stages into various classes namely:-Awake (AWA),
Slow Wave Sleep (SWS) and Rapid Eye Movement (REM). EEG, EOG and EMG
are the various signals used for features extraction [236] [242] [249]. Visual
scoring of the sleep-EEG of the subjects can yield accurate results but are time
consuming. The meticulously worked upon ANFIS for sleep stage classification is
adopted for achieving consummate results.
Author, to the best of his knowledge, has not witnessed the use of Fuzzy
Inference System (FIS) and Adaptive Neuro Fuzzy Interface (ANFIS) in
classifying sleep stages and heat stress detection. Only ANN, SOFM and other
similar technique has been used to fulfill the above addressed objective on similar


animal model [39, 4]. Findings of Fuzzy logic Interface indicate the consistency
with physiological outcome under the same experimental condition [24, 25, 39].
Moreover, Fuzzy inference system’s predilection for fuzzy sets, which can be
easily derived from the physiological observations, has been leveraged to achieve
high accuracy.


1.2 Problems for investigation

1. To analyze the recorded electrophysiological signals such as EEG from the

cerebral cortex, EMG from the neck muscles and EOG from external canthus
muscles respectively, after acute and chronic heat stress in subjects.
2. To quantify the EEG (qEEG) changes with the help of signal processing methods.
3. To compare the changes in EEG signals during different sleep stages.
4. To investigate the variation in frequency and power of three vigilance states of the
subjects under defined clinical conditions.
5. To develop the rules of fuzzy logic for different sleep-wake stages classification
and check the percentage of correct recognition rate by comparing them with
manual scoring.
6. To develop the automated fuzzy rule based system to differentiate the stress level
of the subjects under heat stress from their controlled state.


1.3 Significance of the study

Experiments on animals confirm the fact that neuronal changes in brain and
profound alteration in brain electrical activities take place due to increase in
environmental heat. The effect of this is affliction and damage to the central nervous
system. This necessitates the use of an efficient diagnostic tool to diagnose the stress
symptoms through sleep-EEG moderately. Since EEG signals are highly complex
and nonlinear in nature, analysis of analog records need physician’s skill and
requires much labor.
The conventional long term paper recording of EEG signals following stress
events such as heat stress is not of much diagnostic value. So, computer and digital
signal processing tools have been used to quantify the EEG signals for all three
sleep-wake stages after acute and chronic heat stress. Since, long-term EEG
recordings, in addition to other two channels of electrophysiological signals, EOG
(Electrooculogram) and EMG (Electromyogram), reflect the variations in sleep-
wake states, so the changes in sleep parameters following acute as well as chronic
states were also observed. Further, to reduce the labor involved in the manual sleep
staging and to analyze psychophysiological alterations, artificial neural network’s
architectures were designed. Present study signifies the computerized recognition of
different sleep-wake states and the changes occurred in EEG signals due to exposure
to high environmental heat.
As the applications of soft-computing and digital signal processing tools in
solving brain electrophysiological problems and systems modeling of various brain
functions have great clinical and pathophysiological importance, the design of such
types of systems with development of a clinical software package, after some
training to the clinical and research persons definitely will reduce the labor involved
in clinical diagnosis. Review of literature revealed that Neuro-Fuzzy technique
along with the wavelet transform are of significant clinical importance for solving
complex problems related with brain electrophysiology. The soft-computing tools
have proved to be an important tool for automatic and real-time identification of
even minor alterations in EEG signals occurred due to variety of stress stimuli.
Based on the accuracy of Fuzzy classifier, it can also be concluded that the
application of this study will be helpful for the neurologists to analyze the sleep-
awake correlation.


1.4 Layout of the Thesis

This thesis has been divided in eight chapters. The first chapter deals with
the general introduction, problems to be investigated, significance of the study and
layout of the thesis. This is followed by the review of literature in the second
chapter. A brief introduction to Fuzzy logic, Extracted Features, Fuzzy rules for
sleep stages and heat stress classification. This chapter also introduces a brief
survey on the applications of Physiological changes and how to derive the fuzzy
rules from these changes. Adaptive Neuro Inference System (ANFIS) is discussed
in greater detail along with the feature extraction algorithm.
The third chapter describes the experimental design and methodology
adopted for the study. This involves feature extraction using Fourier transform as
well as training and testing protocol of fuzzy model for heat stress recognition and
sleep-wake stages detection. Chapter four deals with the simulation results
obtained from wavelet analysis of sleep-EEG. The analysis explains the transients
of the signals and their variation in frequency and power of three vigilance states
before and after exposure to heat stress.
Chapter five covers physiological observations made on the subjects in
terms of established stress markers describing changes in body temperature and
body weight during experiment. Chapter six presents the results of a number of
computer simulations carried out so as to acquire understanding of the various
parameters needed for sleep stage classification and heat stress classification.
Discussion on the results obtained in the previous three chapters, has been
presented in chapter seven. Finally, the eighth chapter deals with the conclusions
and future scopes of the whole work. Apart from these chapters, the abbreviations,
list of symbols, tables, figures and references have also been attached.