Assessing Mild Cognitive Impairment Using Portable Electroencephalography: The P300 Component

  • Hannah H. Smith University of Victoria
Keywords: mild cognitive impairment, electroencephalography, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease


Increased prevalence of mild cognitive impairments (MCIs) and dementias are a growing concern as the population ages, which produces a need for an objective, accessible, and cost-effective tool to facilitate early detection and intervention. This article investigates whether a portable electroencephalography (EEG) system can provide an effective measure of MCI using a visual oddball task to target the memory and attention event-related potential (ERP) component called the P300. In this study, 40 participants were separated into two groups: individuals with a diagnosed cognitive impairment and a healthy age-matched control group. Participants completed two typical pen-and-paper MCI assessments to gather behavioural data, which were followed by a perceptual EEG oddball task to gather brain data. Results show that the MCI group demonstrated decreased behavioural task performance in the pen-and-paper assessments and a modulated brain response during the oddball task when compared to healthy controls, which the portable EEG system revealed to be a decreased P300 peak amplitude. These results indicate the capability of portable EEGs to identify biomarkers for MCI and their potential use in the diagnostic process. This capability could provide major benefits to patients, their families, and physicians, and would also assist with Alzheimer’s research. Future research could expand on these findings by applying a lifespan or disease-span approach to investigate P300 changes in the course of a healthy individual’s life compared to P300 changes in individuals with MCI over the entire course of their disease. This research could also cultivate a greater understanding of how MCI progresses, which could improve diagnostic or treatment development.


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Author Biography

Hannah H. Smith, University of Victoria

Bachelor of Science
Faculty of Education
Areas of interest: Alzheimer’s disease; aging; decision-making; fatigue; exercise science


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