EEG-microstates in mild memory impairment and Alzheimer's disease: possible association with disturbed information processing

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 1997;104(4-5):483-95. doi: 10.1007/BF01277666.


The only available functional neuroimaging methods reaching the time resolution of human information processing are EEG and MEG. Since spectral analysis implies analysis of longer time epochs, the high temporal resolution of EEG is partly lost. By dividing the EEG in the time-domain into segments of similar spatial distribution on the scalp (microstates) it has been possible to assess patterns of neuronal activity representing the information process currently performed by the brain. In the present study alterations of EEG microstates in subjective (n = 31) and objective (n = 38) memory impairment as well as in probable Alzheimer disease (DAT: n = 64) compared to healthy controls (n = 21) were investigated. The main findings were reduced segment durations and a more anterior center of gravity of the microstate topography in DAT. With more pronounced cognitive dysfunction larger window sizes were found. Shorter microstates and larger windows reflect more rapidly changing spatial activation patterns, and are interpreted as an impaired capability to establish stable brain states necessary for normal brain function. The anteriorization of the microstates is consistent with results in the frequency domain and may reflect neuropathological changes in DAT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Memory Disorders / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Thinking*