Resting state cortical electroencephalographic rhythms in subjects with normal and abnormal body weight

Claudio Babiloni, Nicola Marzano, Roberta Lizio, Anna Valenzano, Antonio Ivano Triggiani, Annamaria Petito, Antonello Bellomo, Brunello Lecce, Ciro Mundi, Andrea Soricelli, Cristina Limatola, Giuseppe Cibelli, Claudio Del Percio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is well known that resting state regional cerebral blood flow is abnormal in obese when compared to normal-weight subjects but the underlying neurophysiological mechanisms are poorly known. To address this issue, we tested the hypothesis that amplitude of resting state cortical electroencephalographic (EEG) rhythms differ among underweight, normal-weight, and overweight/obese subjects as a reflection of the relationship between cortical neural synchronization and regulation of body weight. Eyes-closed resting state EEG data were recorded in 16 underweight subjects, 25 normal-weight subjects, and 18 overweight/obese subjects. All subjects were psychophysically healthy (no eating disorders or major psychopathologies). EEG rhythms of interest were delta (2-4. Hz), theta (4-8. Hz), alpha 1 (8-10.5. Hz), alpha 2 (10.5-13. Hz), beta 1 (13-20. Hz), beta 2 (20-30. Hz), and gamma (30-40. Hz). EEG cortical sources were estimated by low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (LORETA). Statistical results showed that parietal and temporal alpha 1 sources fitted the pattern underweight > normal-weight > overweight/obese (p <0.004), whereas occipital alpha 1 sources fitted the pattern normal-weight > underweight > overweight/obese (p <0.00003). Furthermore, amplitude of the parietal, occipital, and temporal alpha 2 sources was stronger in the normal-weight subjects than in the underweight and overweight/obese subjects (p <0.0007). These results suggest that abnormal weight in healthy overweight/obese subjects is related to abnormal cortical neural synchronization at the basis of resting state alpha rhythms and fluctuation of global brain arousal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)698-707
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 15 2011


  • Electroencephalography (EEG)
  • Low resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (LORETA)
  • Obese subjects
  • Underweight subjects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neurology


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