Hippocampal atrophy and EEG markers in subjects with mild cognitive impairment

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The present study evaluates the potential relationship between hippocampal atrophy and EEG brain rhythmicity, as assessed by relative band power and alpha frequency indices in a cohort of subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Methods: Eighty-eight subjects falling within the definition of MCI patients were enrolled. All subjects underwent EEG recording and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Volumetric morphometry estimates of the hippocampal region were computed. Individual EEG frequencies were indexed by the theta/alpha transition frequency (TF) and the individual alpha frequency (IAF). The relative power was separately computed for delta, theta, alpha1, alpha2 and alpha3 frequency bands. The MCI cohort was classified into four subgroups, based on the mean and standard deviations of the hippocampal volume of a normal elderly control sample. Results: The group with moderate hippocampal atrophy showed the highest increase in the theta power on frontal regions, and of the alpha2 and alpha3 powers on frontal and temporo-parietal areas. The analysis of the individual alpha frequency markers showed that the values for the alpha markers were highest in the group with the smallest hippocampal volume, whereas in the group with moderate hippocampal atrophy, these values were lower than in the group with severe atrophy. Conclusions: The relationship between hippocampal atrophy and EEG activity changes in MCI subjects is not proportional to the hippocampal atrophy. Therefore, EEG markers could represent a new tool for differential diagnosis. Significance: The hippocampal atrophy induces different brain synchronization/desynchronization patterns. EEG changes model the brain activity induced by a discrete change of the hippocampal volume. The changes in the EEG rhythmicity differ greatly from those in MCI patients with subcortical vascular damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2716-2729
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


  • Alpha rhythm
  • EEG
  • Hippocampal atrophy
  • MCI
  • MRI
  • Theta rhythm
  • Volume-based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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