EEG Microstates in Mood and Anxiety Disorders: A Meta-analysis

Chivu A, Pascal SA, Damborská A, Tomescu MI.

Brain Topogr. 2023 Aug 24. doi:10.1007/s10548-023-00999-0. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37615799.


29 Aug 2023

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To reduce the psycho-social burden increasing attention has focused on brain abnormalities in the most prevalent and highly co-occurring neuropsychiatric disorders, such as mood and anxiety. However, high inter-study variability in these patients results in inconsistent and contradictory alterations in the fast temporal dynamics of large-scale networks as measured by EEG microstates. Thus, in this meta-analysis, we aim to investigate the consistency of these changes to better understand possible common neuro-dynamical mechanisms of these disorders.In the systematic search, twelve studies investigating EEG microstate changes in participants with mood and anxiety disorders and individuals with subclinical depression were included in this meta-analysis, adding up to 787 participants.The results suggest that EEG microstates consistently discriminate mood and anxiety impairments from the general population in patients and subclinical states. Specifically, we found a small significant effect size for B microstates in patients compared to healthy controls, with larger effect sizes for increased B presence in unmedicated patients with comorbidity. In a subgroup meta-analysis of ten mood disorder studies, microstate D showed a significant effect size for decreased presence. When investigating only the two anxiety disorder studies, we found a significantly small effect size for the increased microstate A and a medium effect size for decreased microstate E (one study). However, more studies are needed to elucidate whether these findings are diagnostic-specific markers.Results are discussed in relation to the functional meaning of microstates and possible contribution to an explanatory mechanism of overlapping symptomatology of mood and anxiety disorders.

Keywords: Anxiety; Bipolar Disorder; Depression; Meta-Analysis; Microstates; PTSD; Panic Disorder.

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