EEG indices correlate with sustained attention performance in patients affected by diffuse axonal injury

Stefania Coelli, Riccardo Barbieri, Gianluigi Reni, Claudio Zucca, Anna Maria Bianchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study is to assess the ability of EEG-based indices in providing relevant information about cognitive engagement level during the execution of a clinical sustained attention (SA) test in healthy volunteers and DAI (diffused axonal injury)-affected patients. We computed three continuous power-based engagement indices (Pβ/Pα, 1/Pα, and Pβ / (Pα + Pθ)) from EEG recordings in a control group (n = 7) and seven DAI-affected patients executing a 10-min Conners’ “not-X” continuous performance test (CPT). A correlation analysis was performed in order to investigate the existence of relations between the EEG metrics and behavioral parameters in both the populations. Pβ/Pα and 1/Pα indices were found to be correlated with reaction times in both groups while Pβ / (Pα + Pθ) and Pβ/Pα also correlated with the errors rate for DAI patients. In line with previous studies, time course fluctuations revealed a first strong decrease of attention after 2 min from the beginning of the test and a final fading at the end. Our results provide evidence that EEG-derived indices extraction and evaluation during SA tasks are helpful in the assessment of attention level in healthy subjects and DAI patients, offering motivations for including EEG monitoring in cognitive rehabilitation practice. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalMedical and Biological Engineering and Computing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Nov 9 2017


  • EEG
  • Engagement
  • Sustained attention
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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