Aging and spectral analysis of EEG in normal subjects: a link to memory and CSF AChE


Department of Neurology, University of Kuopio, P.O. Box 6, SF-70211 Kuopio, Finland


We studied the effect of aging on EEG spectra recorded from T5–O1 (T6-O2) derivation. The aging series composed of 52 normal individuals aged 20 to 91 years. Seventy-nine per cent of visual and 81% of quantitative EEGs were considered normal. The absolute amplitude of delta and theta bands and absolute power of delta band were lower for the oldest group (aged 60 and over) than for the youngest group (aged 20–39 years). Age was inversely related to the amount of delta and theta indicating that the amount of slow activity in quantitative EEG does not increase with age in the context of good health status. Women had more beta activity compared with men. In addition, the amount of beta and alpha bands showed tendency for a reduction with age. Fifteen subjects aged 50 years or older participated in a 2-year follow-up including EEG and neuropsychological evaluation. Seven of them deteriorated in learning ability and showed increase in delta activity. In the oldest age group, delta amplitude was positively correlated with intrusion errors in the list learning test and inversely related to acetylcholinesterase activity of the CSF. Thus, a link between the cholinergic system, EEG slowing and memory problems in old age is suggested.