Cortical sources of EEG rhythms in congestive heart failure and Alzheimer's disease

Fabrizio Vecchio, Lavinia Valeriani, Paola Buffo, Maria Gabriella Scarpellini, Giovanni B. Frisoni, Oriano Mecarelli, Claudio Babiloni, Paolo M. Rossini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The brain needs continuous oxygen supply even in resting-state. Hypoxia enhances resting-state electroencephalographic (EEG) rhythms in the delta range, and reduces those in the alpha range, with a pattern similar to that observed in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here we tested whether resting-state cortical EEG rhythms in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF), as a model of acute hypoxia, present frequency similarities with AD patients, comparable by cognitive status revealed by the mini mental state examination (MMSE). Methods: Eyes-closed EEG data were recorded in 10 CHF patients, 20 AD patients, and 20 healthy elderly subjects (Nold) as controls. LORETA software estimated cortical EEG generators. Results: Compared to Nold, both AD and CHF groups presented higher delta (2-4. Hz) and lower alpha (8-13. Hz) temporal sources. The highest delta and lowest alpha sources were observed in CHF subjects. In these subjects, the global amplitude of delta sources correlated with brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) level in the blood, as a marker of disease severity. Conclusions: Resting-state delta and alpha rhythms suggest analogies between the effects of acute hypoxia and AD neurodegeneration on the cortical neurons' synchronization. Significance: Acute ischemic hypoxia could affect the mechanisms of cortical neural synchronization generating resting state EEG rhythms, inducing the "slowing" of EEG rhythms typically observed in AD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-107
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Alzheimer's disease (AD)
  • B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP)
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF)
  • Dementia
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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