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  1. Chronic pain patients lack at-home pain assessment and management tools. The existing chronic-pain mobile applications are either solely relying on self-report pain levels or restricted to formal clinical settings. Our app, abbreviated from an NSF-funded project entitled Novel Computational Methods for Continuous Objective Multimodal Pain Assessment Sensing System (COMPASS), is a multi-dimensional pain app that collects physiological signals to predict objective pain levels and trace daily at-home activities by incorporating a daily check-in section. We conducted a usability test with 33 healthy participants under pain conditions. The results provided initial support for the validity of the signals in predicting internalizing pain levels among the participants. With further development and testing, we believe the COMPASS app system has the potential to be used by both patients and clinicians as an additional tool to better assess and manage pain, especially for mobile healthcare applications.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  2. Automatic pain intensity assessment from physiological signals has become an appealing approach, but it remains a largely unexplored research topic. Most studies have used machine learning approaches built on carefully designed features based on the domain knowledge available in the literature on the time series of physiological signals. However, a deep learning framework can automate the feature engineering step, enabling the model to directly deal with the raw input signals for real-time pain monitoring. We investigated a personalized Bidirectional Long short-term memory Recurrent Neural Networks (BiLSTM RNN), and an ensemble of BiLSTM RNN and Extreme Gradient Boosting Decision Trees (XGB) for four-category pain intensity classification. We recorded Electrodermal Activity (EDA) signals from 29 subjects during the cold pressor test. We decomposed EDA signals into tonic and phasic components and augmented them to original signals. The BiLSTM-XGB model outperformed the BiLSTM classification performance and achieved an average F1-score of 0.81 and an Area Under the Receiver Operating Characteristic curve (AUROC) of 0.93 over four pain states: no pain, low pain, medium pain, and high pain. We also explored a concatenation of the deep-learning feature representations and a set of fourteen knowledge-based features extracted from EDA signals. The XGB model trained on this fused feature set showed better performance than when it was trained on component feature sets individually. This study showed that deep learning could let us go beyond expert knowledge and benefit from the generated deep representations of physiological signals for pain assessment. 
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  4. Optimization of pain assessment and treatment is an active area of research in healthcare. The purpose of this research is to create an objective pain intensity estimation system based on multimodal sensing signals through experimental studies. Twenty eight healthy subjects were recruited at Northeastern University. Nine physiological modalities were utilized in this research, namely facial expressions (FE), electroencephalography (EEG), eye movement (EM), skin conductance (SC), and blood volume pulse (BVP), electromyography (EMG), respiration rate (RR), skin temperature (ST), blood pressure (BP). Statistical analysis and machine learning algorithms were deployed to analyze the physiological data. FE, EEG, SC, BVP, and BP proved to be able to detect different pain states from healthy subjects. Multi-modalities proved to be promising in detecting different levels of painful states. A decision-level multi-modal fusion also proved to be efficient and accurate in classifying painful states. 
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    Firefighters are often exposed to extensive wayfinding information in various formats owing to the increasing complexity of the built environment. Because of the individual differences in processing assorted types of information, a personalized cognition-driven intelligent system is necessary to reduce the cognitive load and improve the performance in the wayfinding tasks. However, the mixed and multi-dimensional information during the wayfinding tasks bring severe challenges to intelligent systems in detecting and nowcasting the attention of users. In this research, a virtual wayfinding experiment is designed to simulate the human response when subjects are memorizing or recalling different wayfinding information. Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) are designed for automated attention detection based on the power spectrum density of electroencephalography (EEG) data collected during the experiment. The performance of the personalized model and the generalized model are compared and the result shows a personalized CNN is a powerful classifier in detecting the attention of users with high accuracy and efficiency. The study thus will serve a foundation to support the future development of personalized cognition-driven intelligent systems. 
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