EEG power, frequency, asymmetry and coherence in male depression

Psychiatry Res. 2001 Apr 10;106(2):123-40. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4927(00)00080-9.


Quantitative electroencephalographic (EEG) power topography has served as a useful tool for investigating brain regional mechanisms underlying affective disorders. In an attempt to examine the role of gender and widen the scope of the measurement probes used in these investigations, the traditional power and inter-hemispheric power ratio indices were supplemented with intra-hemispheric power ratios, mean frequency and both inter and intra-hemispheric coherence indices, in the comparison of depressed male patients and healthy controls. Resting (eyes closed), vigilance controlled EEG recordings from 21 scalp sites were collected from 70 male, unmedicated, unipolar major depressive disorder outpatients and 23 normal control male subjects. Absolute and relative power, frequency, asymmetry and coherence measures derived from spectrally analyzed EEGs were subjected to univariate analyses for group comparisons as well as to discriminant function analysis to examine their utility as classification indices. Compared with controls, patients evidenced greater overall relative beta power and, at bilateral anterior regions, greater absolute beta power and faster mean total spectrum frequency. Inter-hemispheric alpha power asymmetry index differences were noted, with controls exhibiting relatively reduced left hemisphere activation, and widespread reduced delta, theta, alpha and beta coherence indices. Whereas intra-hemispheric theta power asymmetry reduction was exhibited in patients bilaterally at all regions, group differences with intra-hemispheric beta power asymmetry were unilateral, being restricted to the right hemisphere. Discriminant analysis correctly classified 91.3% of the patients and controls. Quantitative EEG measurements in male depression appear to describe a pattern of aberrant inter-hemispheric synchrony/asymmetry and a profile of frontal activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Electroencephalography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Severity of Illness Index