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Resting EEG sources correlate with attentional span in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease


Dr Claudio Babiloni, 1Dipartimento di Fisiologia Umana e Farmacologia, as above.


Previous evidence has shown that resting delta and alpha electroencephalographic (EEG) rhythms are abnormal in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and its potential preclinical stage (mild cognitive impairment, MCI). Here, we tested the hypothesis that these EEG rhythms are correlated with memory and attention in the continuum across MCI and AD. Resting eyes-closed EEG data were recorded in 34 MCI and 53 AD subjects. EEG rhythms of interest were delta (2–4 Hz), theta (4–8 Hz), alpha 1 (8–10.5 Hz), alpha 2 (10.5–13 Hz), beta 1 (13–20 Hz), and beta 2 (20–30 Hz). EEG cortical sources were estimated by low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (LORETA). These sources were correlated with neuropsychological measures such as Rey list immediate recall (word short-term memory), Rey list delayed recall (word medium-term memory), Digit span forward (immediate memory for digits probing focused attention), and Corsi span forward (visuo-spatial immediate memory probing focused attention). A statistically significant negative correlation (Bonferroni corrected, P < 0.05) was observed between Corsi span forward score and amplitude of occipital or temporal delta sources across MCI and AD subjects. Furthermore, a positive correlation was shown between Digit span forward score and occipital alpha 1 sources (Bonferroni corrected, P < 0.05). These results suggest that cortical sources of resting delta and alpha rhythms correlate with neuropsychological measures of immediate memory based on focused attention in the continuum of MCI and AD subjects.