Decrease of non-linear structure in the EEG of Alzheimer patients compared to healthy controls

B Jelles, J H van Birgelen, J P Slaets, R E Hekster, E J Jonkman, C J Stam

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OBJECTIVE: Non-linear EEG analysis can provide information about the functioning of neural networks that cannot be obtained with linear analysis. The correlation dimension (D2) is considered to be a reflection of the complexity of the cortical dynamics underlying the EEG signal. The presence of non-linear dynamics can be determined by comparing the D2 calculated from original EEG data with the D2 from phase-randomized surrogate data.

METHODS: In a prospective study, we used this method in order to investigate non-linear structure in the EEG of Alzheimer patients and controls. Twenty-four patients (mean age 75.6 years) with 'probable Alzheimer's disease' (NINCDS-ADRDA criteria) and 22 controls (mean age 70.3 years) were examined. D2 was calculated from original and surrogate data at 16 electrodes and in three conditions: with eyes open, eyes closed and during mental arithmetic.

RESULTS: D2 was significantly lower in the Alzheimer patients compared to controls (P = 0.023). The difference between original and surrogate data was significant in both groups, implicating that non-linear dynamics play a role in the D2 value. Moreover, this difference between original and surrogate data was smaller in the patient group. D2 increased with activation, but not significantly more in controls than in patients.

CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, we found decreased dimensional complexity in the EEG of Alzheimer patients. This decrease seems to be attributable at least partially to different non-linear EEG dynamics. Because of this, non-linear EEG analysis could be a useful tool to increase our insight into brain dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1159-67
Number of pages9
JournalClinical neurophysiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1999


  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease/physiopathology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brain Mapping
  • Brain/physiopathology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male

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