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EEG beta 2 power as surrogate marker for memory impairment: a pilot study

  • Andreas K. Kaiser (a1) (a2), Michael Doppelmayr (a3) (a4) and Bernhard Iglseder (a1)



Memory deficits are dominant in dementia and are positively correlated with electroencephalographic (EEG) beta power. EEG beta power can predict the progression of Alzheimer´s (AD) as early as at the stage of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and could possibly be used as surrogate marker for memory impairment. The objective of this study is to analyze the relationship between frontal and parietal EEG beta power and memory-test outcome. Frontal and parietal beta power is analyzed for a resting state and an eyes-closed backward counting condition and related to memory impairment parameters.


A total of 28 right-handed female geriatric patients (mean age = 80.6) participated voluntarily in this study. Beta 1 (12.9–19.2 Hz) and beta 2 (19.2–32.4 Hz) EEG power at F3, F4, Fz, P3, P4, and Pz are correlated with immediate wordlist recall, delayed wordlist recall, recognition of learned words, and delayed figure recall. For classification between impaired and intact memory, we calculated a binary logistic regression model with memory impairment as a dependent variable and beta 2 power as an independent variable.


We found significant positive correlations between frontal and parietal beta power and delayed memory recall. A significant correlation (Bonferroni correction, p < 0.05) was found at F4 beta 2 during backward counting. The binary logistic regression model with F4 beta 2 power during the counting condition as a predictor yielded a sensitivity of 76.9% (95% CI) and a specificity of 73.3% (95% CI) for classifying patients into “verbal-memory impaired” and “intact.”


EEG beta 2 power recorded during a backward counting condition with eyes closed can be used as surrogate marker for verbal memory impairment in geriatric patients. Antidepressant treatment was correlated with EEG data in resting state but not in counting condition. Further studies are necessary to verify the results of this pilot study.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Andreas K. Kaiser, University Hospital Salzburg – Christian-Doppler-Klinik, Paracelsus Medical University, Ignaz-Harrer-Strasse 79, 5020 Salzburg, Austria. Phone: +43 (0)57255-33101. Email:


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