Rethinking Seizure Care Blog

Resting-State EEG for Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis and Progression Assessment

Posted by RSC Diagnostics on Oct 29, 2021

Elder woman reading a book at home and smiling

Alzheimer’s disease is a serious neurodegenerative disorder that affects more than six million people in the United States and tens of millions of others around the world. Currently, there is not a cure for the disease, but there is some help available. With early detection and diagnosis, it is possible to get a better characterization of the disease’s progression. This can help to improve the quality of life for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as their caregivers.

Diagnosing Alzheimer's Disease

Typically, the diagnosis for the disease is made using standardized mental status examinations, along with neuroimaging scans and lab tests. The problem with the current methods of diagnosis is that the scans tend to be expensive and that the lab tests are invasive. It can be difficult to get the proper scans and testing for some patients, which means people are often not diagnosed as early as they could be. People also don’t like invasive tests.

Alzheimer’s disease has been divided into three different stages. These include preclinical, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.

At the preclinical stage, there will be changes in the cerebrospinal fluid, blood, and brain that are related to the disease. However, patients do not show symptoms at this stage. This phase could begin several years or even decades before there are any clinical symptoms of the disease that appear. Detecting Alzheimer’s disease at this early stage could provide a better opportunity to start providing early therapeutic interventions.

At the mild cognitive impairment stage, a person still has the capability to function as they normally would. However, they might find that they are starting to have memory lapses, remembering the location of certain places they are familiar with, or they might have trouble coming up with the right word. At this stage, family and friends who know the person well may start to notice the changes. About 70% of patients who are at this stage will progress to Alzheimer’s disease later.

Dementia due to AD will greatly affect the person’s ability to function normally in their life. During moderate to middle stage AD, the behavior, memory, and cognitive reasoning are affected. When someone gets to severe or late-stage AD, they will generally need to have around-the-clock care.

The Use of EEG in Diagnosing AD

Over the course of the last decade or so, there has been an increase in the use of electroencephalography (EEG) as a means to help study Alzheimer’s disease. It’s become more common to use EEG because it is not as costly as some of the other options, such as PET and MRI.

A paper published in Disease Markers in 2018 reported on a systemic review of “utilization of resting-state EEG signals for AD diagnosis and progression assessment.” The researchers ended up studying 112 journal articles published between 2010 and 2018 to get a better understanding of the use of EEG for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers found that EEG could help with the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. They hope that more attention is focused on using this type of noninvasive procedure and that more research is done. By having more ways to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease early, it will be possible to provide patients with better treatment and care. The doctors can also better observe the progression of the disease.

Given the lower cost of EEG and the fact that it is easier on the patients, it can be a great option for clinics and hospitals to start considering. The earlier the problem is detected, the better.




Topics: In-Home Video EEG