Investigating Neurophysiological Markers of Symptom Severity in Alzheimer's Disease

Kate E. Hoy, Melanie R.L. Emonson, Neil W. Bailey, Gregory Humble, Hannah Coyle, Caitlyn Rogers, Paul B. Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by a progressive decline in cognitive functioning for which there is a stark lack of effective treatments. Investigating the neurophysiological markers of symptom severity in AD may aid in the identification of alternative treatment targets. Objective: In the current study we used a multimodal approach to investigate the association between functional connectivity (specifically between scalp electrodes placed over frontal and parietal regions) and symptom severity in AD, and to explore the relationship between connectivity and cortical excitability. Methods: 40 people with AD (25 mild severity, 15 moderate severity) underwent neurobiological assessment (resting state electroencephalography (EEG) and prefrontal transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with EEG) and cognitive assessment. Neurobiological outcomes were resting state functional connectivity and TMS-evoked potentials. Cognitive outcomes were scores on the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale, Mini-Mental Status Examination, and a measure of episodic verbal learning. Results: Greater contralateral functional theta connectivity between frontal scalp electrodes and parietal scalp electrodes was associated with poorer cognitive performance. In addition, significant correlations were seen between the contralateral theta connectivity and the N100 and P60 TMS-evoked potentials measured from electrodes over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Conclusion: Together these findings provide initial support for the use of multimodal neurophysiological approaches to investigate potential therapeutic targets in AD. Suggestions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-321
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Cognitive disorders
  • cortical excitability
  • experimental therapeutics
  • functional connectivity
  • non-invasive brain stimulation

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