Background: The aim of this study is to assess the central auditory processing (CAP) function and its electroencephalogram (EEG) in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and the early stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Methods: In this study, 25 patients with early AD, 22 patients with MCI, and 22 matched healthy controls (HC) were included. After cognitive assessment, binaural processing function was assessed using the staggered spondaic word (SSW) test, and auditory working memory was assessed by auditory n-back paradigm, while EEG was recorded. Patients' behavioral indicators, event-related potentials (ERPs) components, and function connection (FC) were compared between groups and the related factors were analyzed. Results: The difference of the accuracy of behavioral tests for the three groups of subjects was significant and all the behavioral indicators were positively correlated with cognitive function scores. Intergroup differences in amplitude (p < 0.05) and latency (p < 0.01) were significant for P3 in the 1-back paradigm. In the SSW test, AD and MCI patients showed reduced connectivity between the left frontal lobe and the whole brain in the δ-band, while in the n-back paradigm, patients with MCI and early AD showed reduced association of frontal leads with central and parietal leads in the δ-band. Conclusions: Patients with MCI and early AD have reduced CAP functions including binaural processing function and auditory working memory functions. This reduction is significantly associated with reduced cognitive function, and is reflected in different patterns of changes in ERP as well as functional connectivity in the brain.
Heliyon, Volume 9, May 2023,