Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have been shown to induce perturbations to normal neuronal behavior and disrupt neuronal networks. Recent work suggests that the dynamic properties of resting-state neuronal activity could be affected by MCI and AD-induced neurodegeneration. The aim of the study was to characterize these properties from different perspectives: (i) using the Kullback-Leibler divergence (KLD), a measure of non-stationarity derived from the continuous wavelet transform; and (ii) using the entropy of the recurrence point density (ENTR_RR) and the median of the recurrence point density (MED_RR), two novel metrics based on recurrence quantification analysis.
KLD, ENTR_RR and MED_RR were computed for 49 patients with dementia due to AD, 66 patients with MCI due to AD and 43 cognitively healthy controls from 60-s electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings with a 10-s sliding window with no overlap. Afterwards, we tested whether the measures reflected alterations to normal neuronal activity induced by MCI and AD.
Our results showed that frequency-dependent alterations to normal dynamic behavior can be found in patients with MCI and AD, both in non-stationarity and recurrence structure. Patients with MCI showed signs of patterns of abnormal state recurrence in the theta (4-8 Hz) and beta (13-30 Hz) frequency bands that became more marked in AD. Moreover, abnormal non-stationarity patterns were found in MCI patients, but not in patients with AD in delta (1-4 Hz), alpha (8-13 Hz), and gamma (30-70 Hz).
The alterations in normal levels of non-stationarity in patients with MCI suggest an initial increase in cortical activity during the development of AD. This increase could possibly be due to an impairment in neuronal inhibition that is not present during later stages. MCI and AD induce alterations to the recurrence structure of cortical activity, suggesting that normal state switching during rest may be affected by these pathologies.

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