Artificial Neural Network-Based Automatic Detection of Food Intake for Neuromodulation in Treating Obesity and Diabetes

Elisabeth R.M. Heremans, Amy S. Chen, Ximeng Wang, Jiafei Cheng, Feng Xu, Agustin Enciso Martinez, Georgios Lazaridis, Sabine van Huffel, Jiande D.Z. Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Neuromodulation, such as vagal nerve stimulation and intestinal electrical stimulation, has been introduced for the treatment of obesity and diabetes. Ideally, neuromodulation should be applied automatically after food intake. The purpose of this study was to develop a method of automatic food intake detection through dynamic analysis of heart rate variability (HRV).
Materials and Methods: Two experiments were conducted: (1) a small sample series with a standard test meal and (2) a large sample series with varying meal size. Electrocardiograms (ECGs) were collected in the fasting and postprandial states. Each ECG was processed to compute the HRV. For each HRV segment, time- and frequency-domain features were derived and used as inputs to train and test an artificial neural network (ANN). The ANN was trained and tested with different cross-validation methods.
Results: The highest classification accuracy reached with leave-one-subject-out-leave-one-sample-out cross-validation was 0.93 in experiment 1 and 0.88 in experiment 2. Retraining the ANN on recordings of a subject drastically increased the achieved accuracy for that subject to values of 0.995 and 0.95 in experiments 1 and 2, respectively.
Conclusions: Automatic food intake detection by ANNs, using features from the HRV, is feasible and may have a great potential for neuromodulation-based treatments of meal-related disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2547-2557
Number of pages11
JournalObesity Surgery
Issue number7
Early online date26 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Diabetes
  • Food intake detection
  • Machine learning
  • Neuromodulation
  • Obesity

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