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Developing a new EEG method for the early diagnosis of dementia.

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Developing a new EEG method for the early diagnosis of dementia. Using novel EEG analyses to create a diagnostic test and biomarker for use with people with dementia



  • Contact name

    Daniel Blackburn

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

  • Research summary

    WHY? An accurate early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is crucial in order to test new treatments, speed up diagnosis (so support can be given to people with dementia and their carers).

    WHAT? We are proposing a new method of diagnosing AD. This research will study EEG to see if subtle changes in brain-connectivity can help make a diagnosis of AD at an early stage. Tests of memory and other cognitive processes cannot reliably diagnose people with early AD from those due to depression, strokes or other types of dementia. Brain scans can exclude other causes of memory problems (such as a tumour), but cannot make a positive diagnosis because brain shrinkage only occurs after the onset of dementia. Changes in brain connectivity may be a useful early marker of dementia. How well the brain is connected can be measured using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans but also with electroencephalography (EEG). EEG is more ‘patient-friendly’ as it only requires electrodes to be placed on the scalp to measure electrical activity. It is commonly used to diagnose epilepsy. EEG has been used to detect changes in connectivity in people with dementia but the methods are not sensitive enough to be used as a clinical diagnostic test.

    WHO? We will recruit people with early AD and healthy volunteers

    WHERE? The University of Sheffield has developed new techniques using EEG to examine brain connectivity. The EEGs will be performed at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

    HOW? People will have a 1-2 hour long EEG. We will compare results from MRI scans that have measured functional connectivity. In order to prove the results are stable we will repeat the EEG at 1 and 6 months in approximately half of the participants.

  • REC name

    Yorkshire & The Humber - Leeds West Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    8 Oct 2014

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion