Background: The synchronized activity of distributed neural assemblies — reflected in the electroencephalogram (EEG) — underpins mental function. In schizophrenia, modulation deficits of EEG spectral content during a P300 task have been replicated. The effects of treatment, chronicity and specificity in these deficits and their possible relationship with anatomic connectivity remain to be explored.
Methods: We assessed spectral entropy modulation of the EEG during a P300 task in 79 patients with schizophrenia (of those, 31 werein their first episode), 29 patients with bipolar disorder and 48 healthy controls. Spectral entropy values summarize EEG characteristics by quantifying the irregularity of spectral content. In a subsample, we calculated the network architecture of structural connectivity using diffusion tensor imaging and graph-theory parameters.
Results: We found significant spectral entropy modulation deficits with task performance in patients with chronic or first-episode schizophrenia and in patients with bipolar disorder, without significant pre-stimulus spectral entropy differences. The deficits were unrelated to treatment doses, and spectral entropy modulation did not differ between patients taking or not taking antipsychotics, lithium, benzodiazepines or antidepressants. Structural connectivity values were unrelated to spectral entropy modulation. In patients with schizophrenia, spectral entropy modulation was inversely related to negative symptoms and directly related to verbal memory.
Limitations: All patients were taking medication. Patients with bipolar disorder were euthymic and chronic. The cross-sectional nature of this study prevented a more thorough analysis of state versus trait criteria for spectral entropy changes.
Conclusion: Spectral entropy modulation with task performance is decreased in patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This deficit was not an effect of psychopharmacological treatment or structural connectivity and might reflect a deficit in the synchronization of the neural assemblies that underlie cognitive activity.
© 2020 Joule Inc. or its licensors