Longitudinal changes in quantitative EEG during long-term tacrine treatment of patients with Alzheimer's disease

Neurosci Lett. 1998 Sep 25;254(2):85-8. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(98)00669-7.


Quantitative EEG is a potentially useful tool in demonstrating the effects of treatments with acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors on the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). In order to define the profile of EEG changes during tacrine long-term treatment, for 12 months we followed 15 AD patients receiving an optimal individually tolerable dose. After 3 months theta global field power (GFP) was significantly reduced, and after 6 months both theta and delta GFP decreased. Theta GFP was still reduced after 12 months of treatment when compared to the baseline. Significant decreases in fast activities of beta 1 and beta 2 GFP were also observed. The untreated reference group (n = 10) did not show any significant changes in GFP after 12 months follow-up, although generators of theta activity had a significant shift towards posterior regions. These findings suggest that slowing in fast EEG frequencies during chronic treatment with AChE inhibitors may provide an early indicator of declining treatment efficiency.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology*
  • Beta Rhythm / drug effects
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Delta Rhythm / drug effects
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tacrine / therapeutic use*
  • Theta Rhythm / drug effects
  • Time Factors


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Tacrine