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Open Access Research

Electroencephalogram abnormalities in panic disorder patients: a study of symptom characteristics and pathology

Karin Hayashi1*, Mariko Makino2, Masahiro Hashizume2, Koichi Nakano3 and Koji Tsuboi2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neuropsychiatry, Sakura Medical Center, Faculty of Medicine, Toho University, Chiba, Japan

2 Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Toho University, Tokyo, Japan

3 Support Center for Research and Education, Toho University, Tokyo, Japan

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BioPsychoSocial Medicine 2010, 4:9  doi:10.1186/1751-0759-4-9

Published: 23 August 2010

Abstract

Background

Since the 1980s, a high EEG abnormality rate has been reported for patients with panic disorder. However, how the EEG abnormalities of panic disorder patients are related to the clinical features and pathology of these patients has yet to be clarified. In this study we investigated whether or not EEG abnormalities are related to the 13 symptoms in the DSM-IV criteria for a diagnosis of panic attacks.

Methods

Subjects were 70 patients diagnosed with panic disorder.

Logistic regression analysis was performed with EEG findings as dependent variables and age, sex and with or without the 13 symptoms as independent variables.

Results

(1)EEG findings for panic disorder patients with EEG abnormalities: Of the 17 patients, 13 had repeated slow waves in the θ-band; the most prevalent EEG abnormality found in this study. Paroxysmal abnormality interpreted as epileptiform was found in only two cases. (2)Nausea or abdominal distress (37.7% vs 82.45%, OR-12.5), derealization or depersonalization (7.5% vs 47.1%, OR = 13.9,) and paresthesias (43.4% vs 64.7%, OR = 7.9,) were extracted by multivariate analysis as factors related to EEG abnormalities.

Conclusion

Of the 70 patients studied, 17 had EEG abnormalities. Among these 17 cases, "repeated slow waves in the θ-band" was the most common abnormality. The factors identified as being related to EEG abnormalities are nausea or abdominal distress, derealization or depersonalization, and paresthesias. The study indicated that physiological predispositions are closely related to panic attacks.