Recent evidence suggests that some seizures are preceded by preictal changes that start from minutes to hours before an ictal event. Nevertheless an adequate statistical evaluation in a large database of continuous multiday recordings is still missing. Here, we investigated the existence of preictal changes in long-term intracranial recordings from 53 patients with intractable partial epilepsy (in total 531 days and 558 clinical seizures). We describe a measure of brain excitability based on the slow modulation of high-frequency gamma activities (40-140 Hz) in ensembles of intracranial contacts. In prospective tests, we found that this index identified preictal changes at levels above chance in 13.2% of the patients (7/53), suggesting that results may be significant for the whole group (p < 0.05). These results provide a demonstration that preictal states can be detected prospectively from EEG data. They advance understanding of the network dynamics leading to seizure and may help develop novel seizure prediction algorithms.