Added Value of QEEG for the Differential Diagnosis of Common Forms of Dementia

Clin EEG Neurosci. 2021 May;52(3):201-210. doi: 10.1177/1550059420971122. Epub 2020 Nov 8.


Introduction: Quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG) has been documented as a helpful tool in the differential diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) with common forms of dementia. The main objective of the study was to assess the role of QEEG in AD differential diagnosis with other forms of dementia: Lewy body dementia (LBD), Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and vascular dementia (VaD).

Methods: We searched PubMed, Embase, and PsycNET, for articles in English published in peer-reviewed journals from January 1, 1980 to April 23, 2019 using adapted search strategies containing keywords quantitative EEG and Alzheimer. The risk of bias was assessed by applying the QUADAS tool. The systematic review was conducted in line with the PRISMA methodology.

Results: We identified 10 articles showcasing QEEG features used in diagnosing dementia, EEG slowing phenomena in AD and PDD, coherence changes in AD and VaD, the role of LORETA in dementia, and the controversial QEEG pattern in FTD. Results vary significantly in terms of sociodemographic features of the studied population, neuropsychological assessment, signal acquisition and processing, and methods of analysis.

Discussion: This article provides a comparative synthesis of existing evidence on the role of QEEG in diagnosing dementia, highlighting some specific features for different types of dementia (eg, the slow-wave activity has been remarked in both AD and PDD, but more pronounced in PDD patients, a diminution in anterior and posterior alpha coherence was noticed in AD, and a lower alpha coherence in the left temporal-parietal-occipital regions was observed in VaD).

Conclusion: QEEG may be a useful investigation for settling the diagnosis of common forms of dementia. Further research of quantitative analyses is warranted, particularly on the association between QEEG, neuropsychological, and imaging features. In conjunction, these methods may provide superior diagnostic accuracy in the diagnosis of dementia.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease dementia; QEEG; frontotemporal dementia; vascular dementia.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease* / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electroencephalography
  • Humans
  • Lewy Body Disease* / diagnosis
  • Parkinson Disease* / diagnosis