What electrophysiology tells us about Alzheimer's disease: a window into the synchronization and connectivity of brain neurons.Neurobiol Aging 2019; 85:58-73NA
Electrophysiology provides a real-time readout of neural functions and network capability in different brain states, on temporal (fractions of milliseconds) and spatial (micro, meso, and macro) scales unmet by other methodologies. However, current international guidelines do not endorse the use of electroencephalographic (EEG)/magnetoencephalographic (MEG) biomarkers in clinical trials performed in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), despite a surge in recent validated evidence. This position paper of the ISTAART Electrophysiology Professional Interest Area endorses consolidated and translational electrophysiological techniques applied to both experimental animal models of AD and patients, to probe the effects of AD neuropathology (i.e., brain amyloidosis, tauopathy, and neurodegeneration) on neurophysiological mechanisms underpinning neural excitation/inhibition and neurotransmission as well as brain network dynamics, synchronization, and functional connectivity, reflecting thalamocortical and corticocortical residual capacity. Converging evidence shows relationships between abnormalities in EEG/MEG markers and cognitive deficits in groups of AD patients at different disease stages. The supporting evidence for the application of electrophysiology in AD clinical research as well as drug discovery pathways warrants an international initiative to include the use of EEG/MEG biomarkers in the main multicentric projects planned in AD patients, to produce conclusive findings challenging the present regulatory requirements and guidelines for AD studies.