All-night EEG power spectral analysis of the cyclic alternating pattern components in young adult subjects

Raffaele Ferri, Oliviero Bruni, Silvia Miano, Giuseppe Plazzi, Mario G. Terzano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To analyze in detail the frequency content of the different EEG components of the Cyclic Alternating Pattern (CAP), taking into account the ongoing EEG background and the nonCAP (NCAP) periods in the whole night polysomnographic recordings of normal young adults. Methods: Sixteen normal healthy subjects were included in this study. Each subject underwent one polysomnographic night recording; sleep stages were scored following standard criteria. Subsequently, each CAP A phase was detected in all recordings, during NREM sleep, and classified into 3 subtypes (A1, A2, and A3). The same channel used for the detection of CAP A phases (C3/A2 or C4/A1) was subdivided into 2-s mini-epochs. For each mini-epoch, the corresponding CAP condition was determined and power spectra calculated in the frequency range 0.5-25 Hz. Average spectra were obtained for each CAP condition, separately in sleep stage 2 and SWS, for each subject. Finally, the first 6 h of sleep were subdivided into 4 periods of 90 min each and the same spectral analysis was performed for each period. Results: During sleep stage 2, CAP A subtypes differed from NCAP periods for all frequency bins between 0.5 and 25 Hz; this difference was most evident for the lowest frequencies. The B phase following A1 subtypes had a power spectrum significantly higher than that of NCAP, for frequencies between 1 and 11 Hz. The B phase after A2 only differed from NCAP for a small but significant reduction in the sigma band power; this was evident also after A3 subtypes. During SWS, we found similar results. The comparison between the different CAP subtypes also disclosed significant differences related to the stage in which they occurred. Finally, a significant effect of the different sleep periods was found on the different CAP subtypes during sleep stage 2 and on NCAP in both sleep stage 2 and SWS. Conclusions: CAP subtypes are characterized by clearly different spectra and also the same subtype shows a different power spectrum, during sleep stage 2 or SWS. This finding underlines a probable different functional meaning of the same CAP subtype during different sleep stages. We also found 3 clear peaks of difference between CAP subtypes and NCAP in the delta, alpha, and beta frequency ranges which might indicate the presence of 3 frequency components characterizing CAP subtypes, in different proportion in each of them. The B component of CAP differs from NCAP because of a decrease in power in the sigma frequency range. Significance: This study shows that A components of CAP might correspond to periods in which the very-slow delta activity of sleep groups a range of different EEG activities, including the sigma and beta bands, while the B phase of CAP might correspond to a period in which this activity is quiescent or inhibited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2429-2440
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005


  • Cyclic alternating pattern
  • EEG power spectra
  • Fast Fourier transform
  • Sleep
  • Sleep EEG bands
  • Sleep stages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)

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