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Feldmann, Lisa; Piechaczek, Charlotte E.; Gruenewald, Barbara D.; Pehl, Verena; Bartling, Jürgen; Frey, Michael; Schulte-Koerne, Gerd; Greimel, Ellen (2018): Resting frontal EEG asymmetry in adolescents with major depression: Impact of disease state and comorbid anxiety disorder. In: Clinical Neurophysiology, Vol. 129, No. 12: pp. 2577-2585
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Objective: Greater relative right-than left-frontal cortical activity has been frequently found in adults with major depression (MD). As the few studies in adolescents with MD have been inconclusive, the aim of this study was to assess frontal alpha asymmetry (FAA) in an adolescent sample with MD whilst taking into account possible confounding variables such as disease state and comorbid anxiety disorder. Methods: An 8-minute resting frontal EEG was assessed in 34 healthy controls (HCs), 16 adolescents with MD in remission without comorbid anxiety disorder (rMDa-), 22 adolescents with acute depression without comorbid anxiety disorder (MDa-), and 23 adolescents with acute depression and comorbid anxiety disorder (MDa+). Alpha power was analyzed over corresponding frontal Regions of Interests. Results: Compared to HCs, MDa+ adolescents demonstrated more left-than right-sided EEG alpha power, indicating greater right-than left-frontal cortical activity. No other group differences emerged. Conclusions: The results suggest that greater relative right-frontal cortical activity in adolescent MD is not a result of disease state but can be attributed to comorbid anxiety disorder. Significance: Results suggest that FAA is not linked to adolescent depression per se and highlight the importance of considering comorbid disorders when examining asymmetry patterns in adolescent MD.