The status of spectral EEG abnormality as a diagnostic test for schizophrenia

Nash N. Boutros, Cynthia Arfken, Silvana Galderisi, Joshua Warrick, Garrett Pratt, William Iacono

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

244 Scopus citations


Objective: A literature review was conducted to ascertain whether or not EEG spectral abnormalities are consistent enough to warrant additional effort towards developing them into a clinical diagnostic test for schizophrenia. Methods: Fifty three papers met criteria for inclusion into the review and 15 were included in a meta-analysis of the degree of significance of EEG deviations as compared to healthy controls. Studies were classified based on a 4-step approach based on guidelines for evaluating the clinical usefulness of a diagnostic test. Results: Our review and meta-analysis revealed that most of the abnormalities are replicated in the expected directions with the most consistent results related to the increased preponderance of slow rhythms in schizophrenia patients. This effect remained consistent in un-medicated patients. Only a small number of studies provided data on the sensitivity and specificity of the findings in differentiating among the psychiatric disorders that frequently appear on the same differential diagnostic list as schizophrenia (Step 3 studies). No multicenter studies using standardized assessment criteria were found (Step 4 studies). Conclusions: Additional Step 3 and Step 4 studies are needed to draw conclusions on the usefulness of EEG spectral abnormalities as a diagnostic test for schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-237
Number of pages13
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Alpha
  • Beta
  • Delta
  • Differential diagnosis
  • EEG
  • Schizophrenia
  • Spectral analysis
  • Theta


Dive into the research topics of 'The status of spectral EEG abnormality as a diagnostic test for schizophrenia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this