Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease: the role of biomarkers including advanced EEG signal analysis. Report from the IFCN-sponsored panel of experts

P. M. Rossini, R. Di Iorio, F. Vecchio, M. Anfossi, C. Babiloni, M. Bozzali, A. C. Bruni, S. F. Cappa, J. Escudero, F. J. Fraga, P. Giannakopoulos, B. Guntekin, G. Logroscino, C. Marra, F. Miraglia, F. Panza, F. Tecchio, A. Pascual-Leone, B. Dubois

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease among the elderly with a progressive decline in cognitive function significantly affecting quality of life. Both the prevalence and emotional and financial burdens of AD on patients, their families, and society are predicted to grow significantly in the near future, due to a prolongation of the lifespan. Several lines of evidence suggest that modifications of risk-enhancing life styles and initiation of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments in the early stage of disease, although not able to modify its course, helps to maintain personal autonomy in daily activities and significantly reduces the total costs of disease management. Moreover, many clinical trials with potentially disease-modifying drugs are devoted to prodromal stages of AD. Thus, the identification of markers of conversion from prodromal form to clinically AD may be crucial for developing strategies of early interventions. The current available markers, including volumetric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) analysis are expensive, poorly available in community health facilities, and relatively invasive. Taking into account its low cost, widespread availability and non-invasiveness, electroencephalography (EEG) would represent a candidate for tracking the prodromal phases of cognitive decline in routine clinical settings eventually in combination with other markers. In this scenario, the present paper provides an overview of epidemiology, genetic risk factors, neuropsychological, fluid and neuroimaging biomarkers in AD and describes the potential role of EEG in AD investigation, trying in particular to point out whether advanced analysis of EEG rhythms exploring brain function has sufficient specificity/sensitivity/accuracy for the early diagnosis of AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1287-1310
Number of pages24
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • AD biomarkers
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Dementia
  • Early diagnosis
  • EEG analysis
  • EEG rhythms
  • Event-related responses
  • Mild cognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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