Nonlinear analysis of physiological signals: A review

Oliver Faust, Muralidhar G. Bairy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reviews various nonlinear analysis methods for physiological signals. The assessment is based on a discussion of chaos-inspired methods, such as fractal dimension (FD), correlation dimension (D2), largest Lyapunov exponet (LLE), Renyi's entropy (REN), Shannon spectral entropy (SEN), and approximate entropy (ApEn). We document that these methods are used to extract discriminative features from electroencephalograph (EEG) and heart rate variability (HRV) signals by reviewing the relevant scientific literature. EEG features can be used to support the diagnosis of epilepsy and HRV features can be used to support the diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases as well as diabetes. Documenting the widespread use of these and other nonlinear methods supports our thesis that the study of feature extraction methods, based on the chaos theory, is an important subject which has been gaining more and significance in biomedical engineering. We adopt the position that pursuing research in the field of biomedical engineering is ultimately a progmatic activity, where it is necessary to engage in features that work. In this case, the nonlinear features are working well, even if we do not have conclusive evidence that the underlying physiological phenomena are indeed chaotic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1240015
JournalJournal of Mechanics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01-09-2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering


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