Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is a situation where repeatedly upper airway stops off while the respiratory effort continues during sleep at least for 10 s. Apart from polysomnography, many researchers have concentrated on exploring alternative methods for OSAS detection. However, not much work has been done on using non-Gaussian and nonlinear behavior of the electroencephalogram (EEG) signals. Bispectral analysis is an advanced signal processing technique particularly used for exhibiting quadratic phase-coupling that may arise between signal components with different frequencies. From this perspective, in this study, a new technique for recognizing patients with OSAS was introduced using bispectral characteristics of EEG signal and an artificial neural network (ANN). The amount of Quadratic phase coupling (QPC) in each subband of EEG (namely; delta, theta, alpha, beta and gamma) was calculated over bispectral density of EEG. Then, these QPCs were fed to the input of the designed ANN. The neural network was configured with two outputs: one for OSAS and one for estimation of normal situation. With this technique a global accuracy of 96.15% was achieved. The proposed technique could be used in designing automatic OSAS identification systems which will improve medical service. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.