Subclinical Epileptiform Activity in Dementia with Lewy Bodies

Christian Sandøe Musaeus*, Troels Wesenberg Kjær, Melita Cacic Hribljan, Birgitte Bo Andersen, Peter Høgh, Preben Kidmose, Martin Fabricius, Martin Christian Hemmsen, Mike Lind Rank, Gunhild Waldemar, Kristian Steen Frederiksen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Patients with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) have a higher probability of seizures than in normal aging and in other types of neurodegenerative disorders. Depositions of α-synuclein, a pathological hallmark of DLB, can induce network excitability, which can escalate into seizure activity. Indicator of seizures are epileptiform discharges as observed using electroencephalography (EEG). However, no studies have so far investigated the occurrence of interictal epileptiform discharges (IED) in patients with DLB.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate if IED as measured with ear-EEG occurs with a higher frequency in patients with DLB compared to healthy controls (HC).

METHODS: In this longitudinal observational exploratory study, 10 patients with DLB and 15 HC were included in the analysis. Patients with DLB underwent up to three ear-EEG recordings, each lasting up to 2 days, over a period of 6 months.

RESULTS: At baseline, IED were detected in 80% of patients with DLB and in 46.7% of HC. The spike frequency (spikes or sharp waves/24 hours) was significantly higher in patients with DLB as compared to HC with a risk ratio of 2.52 (CI, 1.42-4.61; P-value = 0.001). Most IED occurred at night.

CONCLUSIONS: Long-term outpatient ear-EEG monitoring detects IED in most patients with DLB with an increased spike frequency compared to HC. This study extends the spectrum of neurodegenerative disorders in which epileptiform discharges occurs at an elevated frequency. It is possible that epileptiform discharges are, therefore, a consequence of neurodegeneration. © 2023 The Authors. Movement Disorders published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMovement Disorders
Pages (from-to)1861-1870
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • EEG
  • fluctuations
  • interictal epileptiform discharges
  • Lewy body dementia
  • long-term EEG monitoring
  • Brain
  • Humans
  • Electroencephalography
  • Lewy Bodies
  • Lewy Body Disease/complications
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Seizures


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