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September 1992

Increased Sympathetic and Decreased Parasympathetic Cardiac Innervation in Patients With Alzheimer's Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology (Drs Aharon-Peretz and Revach), Rambam Medical Center, and Department of Physiology and Biophysics (Mrs Harel and Dr Ben-Haim), Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, and the Cardiovascular Research Group (Mrs Harel and Dr Ben-Haim), Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, Technion-lsrael Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.

Arch Neurol. 1992;49(9):919-922. doi:10.1001/archneur.1992.00530330041013

• To assess whether Alzheimer's disease affects the sympathetic and parasympathetic influences on the heart rate, we used power spectrum analysis of heart rate variability derived from simple body-surface electrocardiography. We calculated the energy ratio of low- to high-frequency bands. This ratio was significantly higher in patients with Alzheimer's disease than in normal controls (upright posture, 0.41±0.21 vs 0.23±0.08). The parasympathetically mediated baroreceptor activity reflected by the energy ratio of medium- to low- and high-frequency bands was significantly depressed in patients with Alzheimer's disease (upright posture, 0.12±0.02 vs 0.07±0.03; supine posture, 0.11±0.02 vs 0.085±0.025). Compared with normal volunteer controls, patients with Alzheimer's disease manifested a relatively hypersympathetic, hypoparasympathetic state.

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