We investigated the early evoked gamma frequency band activity in alcoholics (n = 122) and normal controls (n = 72) during a visual oddball task. A time-frequency representation method was applied to EEG data in order to obtain phase-locked gamma band activity (29-45 Hz) and was analyzed within a 0-150 ms time window range. Significant reduction of the gamma band response in the frontal region during target stimulus processing was observed in alcoholic compared to control subjects. In contrast, significantly higher gamma band response for the non-target stimulus was observed in alcoholics compared to controls. It is suggested that the reduction in early evoked frontal gamma band response to targets may be associated with frontal lobe dysfunction commonly observed in alcoholics. This perhaps can be characterized by a deficient top-down processing mechanism. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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