EEG microstates and cognitive capacities in Down syndrome and Williams syndrome

Following our extensive characterization of the spatial memory capacities of individuals with Down syndrome (DS) and Williams syndrome (WS), we are currently using electroencephalogric (EEG) recording and analysis techniques to characterize the electrophysiological signature, or “traces”, of the brain resting state activity, which might be ultimately used to predict cognitive performance of individuals with Down syndrome (DS), Williams syndrome (WS) and typically developing (TD) individuals either matched for mental age or matched for chronological age.

Since many of the exact genes that are either duplicated (in DS) or deleted (in WS) are identified, it is possible that correlations can be drawn between the presence or absence of specific genes, or gene combinations, and altered EEG microstates. For example, previous research has shown that individuals with the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, which is a major risk factor for developing schizophrenia, have the same abnormal microstates as schizophrenia patients, thus further suggesting that microstates might be a valuable biomarker of genetic disorders.