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Biological Signal Analysis (Biology)

 Biological Signal Analysis (Biology)

     The aim of this book is to provide readers with a fundamental understanding of signal processing techniques and classification algorithms for analysing biological signals. The text here will allow the reader to demonstrate understanding of basic principles of digital signals; awareness of physiology and characteristics of different biological signals; describe and apply pre- and post- processing techniques, such as conditioning, filtering, feature extraction, classification and statistical validation techniques for biological signals and solve practical biological signal analysis problems using MATLAB.

     Final year undergraduates and graduates students in any field with interest in biological signal analysis (and related areas like digital signal processing) are the main target audiences. But the book will also be useful for the researchers in both industry and academia, especially those from non- technical background who would be interested in analysing biological signals - the text does not assume any prior signal processing knowledge and MATLAB is used throughout the text to minimise programming time and difficulty and concentrate on the analysis, which is the focus of this book.

     Biological signal analysis encompasses several interdisciplinary topics that deal with analysing signals generated by various physiological processes in the human body. These signals could be electrical, chemical or acoustic in origin and an analysis of these signals are often useful in explaining and/or identifying pathological conditions of the human body. However, these signals in their rawest form do not provide much information and therefore, the motivation behind biological signal analysis is to extract (i.e. to reveal) the relevant information. This analysis has become even more important with modern healthcare striving to provide cost effective point-of care diagnosis and personalised treatment. Furthermore, fast computing power in recent years has made much of the more complex analysis methodologies possible. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of biological signal origins and describe commonly encountered biological signals.

     Before we delve into the analysis of biological signals, it would be useful to understand that they are often represented as discrete in time. For example, Figure 1.1 shows an example of a sinus rhythm electrocardiogram (ECG), which represents the electrical activity obtained from normal heart. A single measurement of the signal x is a scalar and represents the electrical signals generated by the mechanisms in the heart (the details of this process follow later) at a particular instant of time t (denoted with index n) rather than at all points of time.

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