Background: To investigate whether quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG) recorded within a few days after a generalized seizure can improve the discrimination between alcohol-related seizures (ARSs), seizures in epilepsy and other seizures. In addition, we wanted to evaluate the influence of various external factors on QEEG, e.g., drug use, time from seizure occurrence, and alcohol intake.
Methods: An ARS was defined by (i) scores ≥8 in the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and (ii) no history of epilepsy. Twenty-two ARS patients, 21 epileptic patients with seizures (ES), 30 AUDIT-negative patients with seizures (OS), and 37 well-controlled epileptic outpatients (EPO) were included. EEG from 79 sciatica patients (SC) served as an additional control group. EEG was recorded in relaxed wakefulness with eyes closed. Spectral analysis of ongoing resting EEG activity was performed. For the main analysis, spectral band amplitudes were averaged across 14 electrodes.
Results: Major quantitative EEG abnormalities were mainly seen in the ES group. AUDIT score correlated negatively with QEEG band amplitudes in patients with seizures unrelated to alcohol, but not in the ARS group. Recent alcohol intake correlated negatively with delta and theta amplitude. We could not confirm that beta activity is increased in ARS subjects.
Conclusions: A QEEG with slightly reduced alpha amplitude supports a clinical diagnosis of ARS. An abnormally slow QEEG profile and asymmetry in the temporal regions indicates ES. QEEG predicted the clinical diagnosis better than standard EEG.