MCI patients' EEGs show group differences between those who progress and those who do not progress to AD

D. V. Moretti, G. B. Frisoni, C. Fracassi, M. Pievani, C. Geroldi, G. Binetti, P. M. Rossini, O. Zanetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The theta/gamma and alpha3/alpha2 ratio were investigated as early markers for prognosticating of progression to dementia. 76 subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) underwent EEG recording, MRI scans and neuropsychological (NPS) tests. After 3 years of follow-up, three subgroups were characterized as converters to Alzheimer's disease (AD, N= 18), converters to non-AD dementia (N= 14) and non-converters (N= 44). The theta/gamma and alpha3/alpha2 ratio, performance on cognitive tests and hippocampal volume, as evaluated at the time of initial MCI diagnosis, were studied in the three groups. As expected, MCI to AD converters had the smallest mean hippocampal volume and poorest performance on verbal learning tests, whereas MCI to non-AD converters had poorest cognitive performance in non-verbal learning tests, abstract thinking, and letter fluency. Increased theta/gamma ratio was associated with conversion to both AD and non-AD dementia; increased alpha3/alpha2 ratio was only associated with conversion to AD. Theta/gamma and alpha3/alpha2 ratio could be promising prognostic markers in MCI patients. In particular, the increase of high alpha frequency seems to be associated with conversion in AD. EEG markers allow a mean correct percentage of correct classification up to 88.3%. Future prospective studies are needed to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of these measures for predicting an AD outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-571
Number of pages9
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • Alpha rhythm
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cognitive tests
  • Electroencephalography
  • Gamma rhythm
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Theta rhythm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Ageing
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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