Evoked potentials in subjects at risk for Alzheimer's disease

Psychiatry Res. 1995 Jun 29;57(1):57-63. doi: 10.1016/0165-1781(95)02597-p.


Evoked potential (EP) changes accompanying dementing processes have been documented in a number of studies. However, EPs have not been studied in subjects who are at heightened risk for the development of Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Nineteen volunteers with no immediate family members with a history of AD and 33 healthy subjects with at least one first-degree relative with AD were studied. Of the 33 subjects with a positive family history of AD, the illness of the sick relative was classified as possible AD in 10 subjects, probable AD in 17 subjects, and definite (autopsy-proven) AD in 6 subjects. Mid-latency evoked potentials (P50, N100, and P200) and P300 event-related potentials were recorded in an oddball paradigm. The amplitudes of the P50 responses to the frequent stimuli and of the P300 responses were significantly higher in the subjects whose relatives had definite AD as compared with the other three groups. The amplitude of the N100 component was also larger in the same group, but the difference was only statistically significant from the group of healthy volunteers without a family history of AD. A process of increased sensitivity to incoming stimuli may be reflected in the increased P50, N100, and P300 amplitudes in the subjects at increased risk for developing AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics*
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Arousal / genetics*
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Attention / physiology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Event-Related Potentials, P300 / genetics
  • Event-Related Potentials, P300 / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / genetics*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Factors