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Relationship between Regional White Matter Hyperintensities and Alpha Oscillations in Older Adults

By Deniz Kumral, Elena Cesnaite, Frauke Beyer, Simon M. Hofmann, Tilman Hensch, Christian Sander, Ulrich Hegerl, Stefan Haufe, Arno Villringer, Veronica Witte, Vadim V. Nikulin

Posted 06 Sep 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.09.04.283200

White matter hyperintensities (WMHs) in the cerebral white matter and attenuation of alpha oscillations (AO; 7–13 Hz) occur with the advancing age. However, a crucial question remains, whether changes in AO relate to aging per se or they rather reflect the impact of age-related neuropathology like WMHs. In this study, using a large cohort (N=907) of elderly participants (60-80 years), we assessed relative alpha power (AP), individual alpha peak frequency (IAPF) and long-range temporal correlations (LRTC) from resting-state EEG. We further associated these parameters with voxel-wise WMHs from 3T MRI. We found that higher prevalence of WMHs in the superior and posterior corona radiata was related to elevated relative AP, with strongest correlations in the bilateral occipital cortex, even after controlling for potential confounding factors. In contrast, we observed no significant relation of probability of WMH occurrence with IAPF and LRTC. We argue that the WMH-associated increase of AP reflects generalized and likely compensatory changes of AO leading to a larger number of synchronously recruited neurons. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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