Dimensional complexity of the EEG in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder

Psychiatry Res. 2004 May 30;131(1):79-89. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2003.05.002.


Recent electrophysiological studies have reported evidence of information processing abnormalities in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The aim of this study is to examine dynamical complexity of the EEG in PTSD patients, which is thought to reflect information processing of the brain. Resting EEG recordings (32,800 data points acquired continuously from 82 s of an EEG record) were obtained in 16 channels of 27 patients with PTSD from a mixed civilian trauma population and 14 healthy subjects. The correlation dimension (D2) of the EEG was used to quantify the complexity of the cortical dynamics underlying the EEG signal. The PTSD patients were found to have lower D2 values than those of the healthy subjects in most channels (Fp1, F8, C4, P4, T3, T4, T5, T6, and O1), indicating that PTSD patients have globally reduced complexity in their EEG waveforms. This study supports the hypotheses that PTSD patients exhibit disturbed cortical information processing, and that non-linear dynamical analysis of the EEG can be a tool for detecting changes in neurodynamics of the brain in PTSD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Computer Graphics
  • Electroencephalography* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mathematical Computing
  • Mental Processes / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Reference Values
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / physiopathology*