Scientific article

Attention and Working Memory-Related EEG Markers of Subtle Cognitive Deterioration in Healthy Elderly Individuals

Published inJournal of Alzheimer's disease, vol. 47, no. 2, p. 335-349
Publication date2015

Future treatments of Alzheimer's disease need the identification of cases at high risk at the preclinical stage of the disease before the development of irreversible structural damage. We investigated here whether subtle cognitive deterioration in a population of healthy elderly individuals could be predicted by EEG signals at baseline under cognitive activation. Continuous EEG was recorded in 97 elderly control subjects and 45 age-matched mild cognitive impairment (MCI) cases during a simple attentional and a 2-back working memory task. Upon 18-month neuropsychological follow-up, the final sample included 55 stable (sCON) and 42 deteriorated (dCON) controls. We examined the P1, N1, P3, and PNwm event-related components as well as the oscillatory activities in the theta (4-7 Hz), alpha (8-13 Hz), and beta (14-25 Hz) frequency ranges (ERD/ERS: event-related desynchronization/synchronization, and ITC: inter-trial coherence). Behavioral performance, P1, and N1 components were comparable in all groups. The P3, PNwm, and all oscillatory activity indices were altered in MCI cases compared to controls. Only three EEG indices distinguished the two control groups: alpha and beta ERD (dCON >  sCON) and beta ITC (dCON <  sCON). These findings show that subtle cognitive deterioration has no impact on EEG indices associated with perception, discrimination, and working memory processes but mostly affects attention, resulting in an enhanced recruitment of attentional resources. In addition, cognitive decline alters neural firing synchronization at high frequencies (14-25 Hz) at early stages, and possibly affects lower frequencies (4-13 Hz) only at more severe stages.

Citation (ISO format)
DEIBER IBANEZ, Marie-Pierre et al. Attention and Working Memory-Related EEG Markers of Subtle Cognitive Deterioration in Healthy Elderly Individuals. In: Journal of Alzheimer’s disease, 2015, vol. 47, n° 2, p. 335–349. doi: 10.3233/JAD-150111
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1387-2877

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