Development of the EEG of school-age children and adolescents. I. Analysis of band power

Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1988 Feb;69(2):91-9. doi: 10.1016/0013-4694(88)90204-0.


Development in quantitative EEG parameters is studied for a sample of 158 normal children and adolescents aged 6-17 years. This is of interest both for increasing basic knowledge of human neurophysiology and for obtaining age standardized norms, useful in clinical research and applications. After selecting an appropriate epoch and correcting for EOG artifacts, the EEG at 8 derivations was submitted to spectral analysis in order to extract broad-band parameters in absolute and relative power. Change in EEG band power across age was quantified by polynomial regression analysis. This opened automatically the possibility to obtain age-standardized EEG norms. Development was for most EEG parameters non-linear, with more pronounced changes for absolute than for relative power. No sex differences and no pubertal spurt could be identified in contrast to most somatic quantities. A detailed statistical analysis revealed, however, that this might be due to using cross-sectional data. All bands except for alpha 2 decreased in absolute power, whereas the fast bands increased and the slow bands decreased in relative power. Strong evidence was found for a substituting process between theta activity and fast alpha activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Child
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reference Values