Silva, A. C. de S., Arce, A. I. C., Arteaga, H. et al. 2023. Improving behavior monitoring of free-moving dairy cows using noninvasive wireless EEG approach and digital signal processing techniques. Applied Sciences 13(19), 10722.

Electroencephalography (EEG) is the most common method to access brain information. Techniques to monitor and extract brain signal characteristics in farm animals are not as developed as those for humans and laboratory animals. The objective of this study was to develop a noninvasive method for monitoring brain signals in cattle, allowing the animals to move freely, and to characterize these signals. Brain signals from six Holstein heifers that could move freely in a paddock compartment were acquired. The control group consisted of the same number of bovines, contained in a climatic chamber (restrained group). In the second step, the signals were characterized by Power Spectral Density, Short-Time Fourier Transform, and Lempel–Ziv complexity. The preliminary results revealed an optimal electrode position, referred to as POS2, which is located at the center of the frontal region of the animal’s head. This positioning allowed for attaching the electrodes to the front of the bovine’s head, resulting in the acquisition of longer artifact-free signal sections. The signals showed typical EEG frequency bands, like the bands found in humans. The Lempel–Ziv complexity values indicated that the bovine brain signals contained random and chaotic components. As expected, the signals acquired from the retained bovine group displayed sections with a larger number of artifacts due to the hot 32 degree C temperature in the climatic chamber. We present a method that helps to monitor and extract brain signal features in unrestrained bovines. The method could be applied to investigate changes in brain electrical activity during animal farming, to monitor brain pathologies, and to other situations related to animal behavior.

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