BackgroundAuditory steady-state response (ASSR) paradigms have consistently demonstrated gamma band abnormalities in schizophrenia at a 40-Hz driving frequency with both electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG). Various time-frequency measures have been used to assess the 40-Hz ASSR, including evoked power, single trial total power, phase-locking factor (PLF), and phase-locking angle (PLA). While both EEG and MEG studies have shown power and PLF ASSR measures to exhibit excellent test-retest reliability in healthy adults, the reliability of these measures in patients with schizophrenia has not been determined.
MethodsASSRs were obtained by recording EEG data during presentation of repeated 20-Hz, 30-Hz and 40-Hz auditory click trains from nine schizophrenia patients (SZ) and nine healthy controls (HC) tested on two occasions. Similar ASSR data were collected from a separate group of 30 HC on two to three test occasions. A subset of these HC subjects had EEG recordings during two tasks, passively listening and actively attending to click train stimuli. Evoked power, total power, PLF, and PLA were calculated following Morlet wavelet time-frequency decomposition of EEG data and test-retest generalizability (G) coefficients were calculated for each ASSR condition, time-frequency measure, and subject group.
ResultsG-coefficients ranged from good to excellent (> 0.6) for most 40-Hz time-frequency measures and participant groups, whereas 20-Hz G-coefficients were much more variable. Importantly, test-retest reliability was excellent for the various 40-Hz ASSR measures in SZ, similar to reliabilities in HC. Active attention to click train stimuli modestly reduced G-coefficients in HC relative to the passive listening condition.
DiscussionThe excellent test-retest reliability of 40-Hz ASSR measures replicates previous EEG and MEG studies. PLA, a relatively new time-frequency measure, was shown for the first time to have excellent reliability, comparable to power and PLF measures. Excellent reliability of 40 Hz ASSR measures in SZ supports their use in clinical trials and longitudinal observational studies.