The predictive value of normal EEGs in dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease

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Objective: To determine differences in clinical presentation and disease progression between patients with dementia due to AD with visually normal and abnormal EEG recordings. We hypothesized that patients with normal electroencephalographs (EEGs) are a representation of the heterogeneity of AD. We expected this group to have a phenotype with relatively predominant hippocampal atrophy, memory deficits, and a slower disease progression. Methods: Patients were included based on diagnosis of dementia due to AD, positive amyloid and tau cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers, and the availability of EEG recordings. Patients were categorized in groups of normal (N = 208) and abnormal (N = 336) EEG recordings based on visual assessment by experienced neurophysiologists. At baseline demographics, cognitive, MRI, and CSF measures were compared between groups. Cognitive data from follow-up visits were assessed by linear mixed-effects models (LMMs), and corrected for baseline value, sex, age, and educational level, to compare cognitive deterioration over time between groups. Results: About 1 in 4.5 patients with AD dementia had a visually normal EEG and this group showed better overall cognitive performance compared to the abnormal group, where memory was the most prominent affected domain. The normal group showed less global and parietal but similar medial temporal atrophy. Follow-up data showed a slower deterioration on all tested cognitive domains in the normal EEG group. Interpretation: Patients with dementia due to AD and visually normal EEG recordings showed a milder clinical presentation and had a milder disease progression compared to patients with an abnormal EEG. These results provide evidence of clinical and biological heterogeneity within AD dementia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1038-1048
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Clinical and Translational Neurology
Issue number5
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

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