Alpha oscillations and their impairment in affective and post-traumatic stress disorders

Moranne Eidelman-Rothman, Jonathan Levy, Ruth Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Affective and anxiety disorders are debilitating conditions characterized by impairments in cognitive and social functioning. Elucidating their neural underpinnings may assist in improving diagnosis and developing targeted interventions. Neural oscillations are fundamental for brain functioning. Specifically, oscillations in the alpha frequency range (alpha rhythms) are prevalent in the awake, conscious brain and play an important role in supporting perceptual, cognitive, and social processes. We review studies utilizing various alpha power measurements to assess abnormalities in brain functioning in affective and anxiety disorders as well as obsessive compulsive and post-traumatic stress disorders. Despite some inconsistencies, studies demonstrate associations between aberrant alpha patterns and these disorders both in response to specific cognitive and emotional tasks and during a resting state. We conclude by discussing methodological considerations and future directions, and underscore the need for much further research on the role of alpha functionality in social contexts. As social dysfunction accompanies most psychiatric conditions, research on alpha's involvement in social processes may provide a unique window into the neural mechanisms underlying these disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794-815
Number of pages22
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016


Supported by NARSAD independent investigator award to RF, by the Simms-Mann Foundation, the Simms-Mann Foundation, and by the I-CORE Program of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of The Israel Science Foundation (grant No. 51/11).

FundersFunder number
Simms-Mann Foundation
National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression
Israel Science Foundation51/11
Israeli Centers for Research Excellence


    • Affective disorders
    • Alpha oscillations
    • Anxiety disorders
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder


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