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Clin Neurophysiol. 2000 Nov;111(11):1961-7.

Discrimination of Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment by equivalent EEG sources: a cross-sectional and longitudinal study.

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Karolinska Institutet, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Occupational Therapy and Elderly Care Research (NEUROTEC), Divison of Geriatric Medicine, B-84, Huddinge University Hospital, Huddinge, Sweden.



The spatial aspects of brain electrical activity can be assessed by equivalent EEG frequency band generators. We aimed to describe alterations of these EEG generators in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and healthy aging and whether they could serve as predictive markers of AD in subjects at risk.


The amplitude and 3-dimensional localization of equivalent EEG sources were evaluated using FFT dipole approximation in 38 mild AD patients, 31 subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and 24 healthy control subjects.


AD patients showed an increase of delta and theta global field power (GFP), which corresponds to the generalized EEG amplitude, as well as a reduction of alpha GFP when compared to the controls. A decrease of alpha and beta GFP was found in AD patients, as compared to the MCI subjects. With respect to topography in the antero-posterior direction, sources of alpha and beta activity shifted more anteriorly in AD patients compared to both the controls and MCI subjects. No significant difference was found between MCI and controls. Combined alpha and theta GFP were the best discriminating variables between AD patients and controls (84% correct classification) and AD and MCI subjects (78% correctly classified). MCI subjects were followed longitudinally (25 months on average) in order to compare differences in baseline EEG variables between MCI subjects who progressed to AD (PMCI) and those who remained stable (SMCI). Compared to SMCI, PMCI had decreased alpha GFP and a more anterior localization of sources of theta, alpha and beta frequency. In a linear discriminant analysis applied on baseline values of the two MCI subgroups, the best predictor of future development of AD was found to be antero-posterior localization of alpha frequency.


FFT dipole approximation and frequency analysis performed by conventional FFT showed comparable classification accuracy between the studied groups. We conclude that localization and amplitude of equivalent EEG sources could be promising markers of early AD.

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