Long-term intra-individual variability of the background EEG in normals

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Objectives: Forty-five healthy adult volunteers underwent repeated qEEG examinations with retest intervals 25-62 months in order to investigate the long-term intra-individual variability of several qEEG features such as, absolute and relative power, power asymmetry, coherence, mean and peak frequency and entropy. Prior to any computations all parameters were transformed to Z-scores on the basis of a normal database. Methods: Correlation coefficients were used to test the effect of the time on the test-retest differences. Correlation coefficients were also computed between baseline and retest values, as a measure of intra-individual stability, to make our results comparable to most literature data. By computing the standard deviations for test-retest differences, the intra-individual variabilities of the examined parameters were obtained in the unit of inter-individual variability of normal population. The same calculations were carried out with values obtained from the odd and even numbered epochs of the same EEG sections. This way, that portion of the intra-individual variability was estimated that might be introduced even by chance only when the epochs were selected randomly from the same section of EEG conforming to selection criteria. Results: As for our results, further increase of test-retest differences with time after 25 months might be so insignificant that it could not be demonstrated in our test material. The long-term intra-individual variability for most parameters, especially for total absolute power and alpha mean frequency, was less than the inter-individual variability in the normal population. The moment-to-moment variability was least in the case of the absolute power. Conclusions: Estimates for intra-individual variability expressed this way in Z-scores might easily be used in the follow-up of patients even for a few years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1708-1716
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 1999



  • Intra-individual variability
  • Long-term study
  • Quantitative EEG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)

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