Relationship between cortical thickness and EEG alterations during sleep in the alzheimer’s disease

Aurora D’Atri, Maurizio Gorgoni, Serena Scarpelli, Susanna Cordone, Valentina Alfonsi, Camillo Marra, Michele Ferrara, Paolo Maria Rossini, Luigi De Gennaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent evidence showed that EEG activity alterations that occur during sleep are associated with structural, age-related, changes in healthy aging brains, and predict age-related decline in memory performance. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients show specific EEG alterations during sleep associated with cognitive decline, including reduced sleep spindles during NREM sleep and EEG slowing during REM sleep. We investigated the relationship between these EEG sleep alterations and brain structure changes in a study of 23 AD patients who underwent polysomnographic recording of their undisturbed sleep and 1.5T MRI scans. Cortical thickness measures were correlated with EEG power in the sigma band during NREM sleep and with delta-and beta-power during REM sleep. Thinning in the right precuneus correlated with all the EEG indexes considered in this study. Frontal–central NREM sigma power showed an inverse correlation with thinning of the left entorhinal cortex. Increased delta activity at the frontopolar and temporal regions was significantly associated with atrophy in some temporal, parietal, and frontal cortices, and with mean thickness of the right hemisphere. Our findings revealed an association between sleep EEG alterations and the changes to AD patients’ brain structures. Findings also highlight possible compensatory processes involving the sources of frontal–central sleep spindles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1174
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cortical thickness
  • Sleep EEG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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