Quantitative EEG abnormalities and cognitive dysfunctions in frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's disease

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2003;15(2):106-14. doi: 10.1159/000067973.


Objective: To investigate the relationship between quantitative EEG (qEEG) measurements in frontotemporal dementia (FTD), Alzheimer's disease (AD) and healthy controls and to study to what extent qEEG in FTD and AD or neuropsychological test results of FTD and AD patients or a combination of both contribute to classification accuracy.

Method: The FTD sample consisted of 19 patients, the AD sample of 16 patients, and the control group of 19 subjects. Groups were matched on the group level with respect to demographic variables. For qEEG the global field power was calculated for six frequency bands: delta (1.0-3.5 Hz), theta (4.0-7.5 Hz), alpha (8.0-11.0 Hz), beta1 (12.0-15.5 Hz), beta2 (16.0-19.5 Hz), beta3 (20.0-23.5 Hz), and spectral ratio as the ratio of the sum of fast frequency bands alpha + beta1 + beta2 + beta3 and slow frequency bands delta + theta.

Results: In comparison to controls FTD patients were marked by an absence of an increase in slow qEEG activities and a decrease in fast activities, whereas AD patients were marked by an increase in slow activities and a smaller decrease in fast activities. According to the Mann-Whitney U test the cognitive functions of attention, visuospatial thinking and episodic memory were significantly better in FTD than in AD. Using logistic regression analysis the best predictors of FTD and AD were in a model using the delta and theta activities, and high levels of visuospatial ability and episodic memory. Classification accuracy of the model was 93.3%.

Conclusion: FTD patients reveal a different pattern of qEEG changes than AD patients. This result demonstrates the importance of qEEG for FTD diagnosis. Cognition is selectively better in FTD than in AD. A combination of qEEG and neuropsychology is recommended for differential diagnoses of FTD and AD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / complications
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Dementia / physiopathology*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*