Brain Bioelectrical Activity in Children with Acute Viral Encephalitis

The aim of the present work was to evaluate changes in brain bioelectrical activity using electroencephalography (EEG) data in children with acute viral encephalitis. A total of 26 children were studied at the Pediatric Scientific Clinical Center for Infectious Diseases, Russian Federal Medical Biological Agency, with clinically confirmed diagnoses of “viral encephalitis.” Boys dominated the sex ratio of 18:8; mean age was 12 ± 2.1 years. All patients were in the acute period (first 14 days). The reference group for EEG analysis consisted of 10 healthy children. The groups were uniform in terms of sex and age. EEG recordings were made in all patients using a Neuron Spectrum 3 encephalograph (Ivanovo, Russia), with visual analysis of the EEG and spectral frequency analysis. Spectral power was evaluated in the α, θ, and δ frequency ranges, and the α/θ, α/δ ratios were also determined. Visual analysis of the EEG showed that 100% of children in the acute period of viral encephalitis showed diffuse slowing with recording of δ and θ frequencies. Focal changes in the form of sharp waves were recorded in 85% of cases (21 patients). Periodic activity was not recorded in even a single case in the study group of patients. Quantitative analysis of the results of statistical processing identified statistically significant decreases in the α/θ ratio (p = 0.035), maximum α (p = 0.046) and minimum θ (p = 0.044) in encephalitis patients as compared with the healthy children group. These data lead to the conclusion that pediatric patients during the acute period of viral encephalitis show significant impairments to the normal α/θ EEG power ratio. This impairment was apparent as a reduction in the power of the α and θ rhythms. It can be suggested that the cause of this reduction is suppression of the functional activity of the thalamus and thalamocortical pathways, as well as the reticular formation of the brain.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    V. V. Gnezditskii and M. A. Piradov, Neurophysiology of Coma and Impaired Consciousness (analysis and interpretation of clinical observations), PresSto, Ivanovo (2015).

  2. 2.

    S. T. Herman, N. S. Abend, T. P. Bleck, et al., “Consensus statement on continuous EEG in critically ill adults and children, part I: indications,” J. Clin. Neurophysiol., 32, No. 2, 87–95 (2015),

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    M. V. Aleksandrov, A. A. Chukhlovin, M. E. Pavlovskaya, et al., “The alpha-theta continuum: neurophysiological mechanisms of generation,” Med. Alfavit., 1, No. 14, 46–50 (2017).

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    P. Andersen and S. A. Andersson, Physiological Basis of the Alpha Rhythm, Century Crofts, New York (1968).

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    H. Li, X. H. Wang, F. Fang, et al., “Clinical and electroencephalographic analysis of anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor encephalitis in children,” Zhonghua Er Ke Za Zhi, 54, No. 7, 510–514 (2016).

  6. 6.

    N. Bahi-Buisson, R. Nabbout, P. Plouin, et al., “Avancées actuelles sur les concepts pathogéniques et therapeutiques de l’encéphalite de Rasmussen,” Rev. Neurol. (Paris), 161, No. 4, 395–405 (2005).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    A. S. Kotov, I. G. Rudakova, K. Yu. Mukhin, et al., “Kozhevnikov–Rasmussen encephalitis. Description of two clinical cases,” Russ. Zh. Detsk. Nevrol., 4, No. 2, 42–50 (2009).

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    T. V. Mironenko, and G. A. Pogorelova, “on the differentiation of viral encephalitis,” Aktual. Infektol., 2, No. 3, 90–92 (2014).

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    V. B. Voitenkov, N. V. Skripchenko, and V. N. Komantsev, “Varicella encephalitis-related EEG modifications in children,” Neurophysiology, 45, 219 (2013),

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    B. F. Westmoreland, “The EEG in cerebral inflammatory processes,” in: Electroencephalography, E. Niedermeyer and L. Da Silva (eds.), Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore (1999), pp. 302–316.

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    D. A. Greenberg, D. J. Weinkle, and M. J. Aminoff, “Periodic EEG complexes in infectious mononucleosis encephalitis,” J. Neurol. Neurosurg. Psychiat., 45, 648–651 (1982).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    A. J. Rodriguez and B. F. Westmoreland, “Electroencephalographic characteristics of patients infected with West Nile virus,” J. Clin. Neurophysiol., 24, 386–389 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    M. V. Sinkin, E. A. Baranova, and I. G. Komol’tsev, “Methodology for recording and describing electroencephalograms in patients with suppressed levels of consciousness,” Med. Alfavit Ser. Sovrem. Funkts. Diagnst., 3, No. 29, 17–24 (2019).

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Y. Wu, M. Chen, Y. Cui, et al., “Viral encephalitis in quantitative EEG,” J. Integr. Neurosci., 17, No. 3–4, 493–501 (2018),

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    X. F. Li, B. Ai, J. W. Ye, et al., “Clinical analysis of seven cases of H1N1 influenza-associated encephalopathy in children,” Zhonghua Er Ke Za Zhi, 57, No. 7, 538–542 (2019).

  16. 16.

    N. Ben Achour, H. Benrhouma, A. Rouissi, et al., “Epidemic of rubella encephalitis,” Arch. Pediatr., 20, No. 8, 858–862 (2013),

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    A. A. Kornyakova, L. I. Yasinskaya, and A. P. Kudin, “Clinical and laboratory features of encephalitis and meningoencephalitis of enterovirus etiology in children,” Med. Zh., 1, No. 11, 53–57 (2005).

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    E. Kuznetsova, M. Ismagilov, and R. Khabibullina, “Neurophysiological aspects of the diagnosis of tick-borne encephalitis,” Vrach, 9, 71–75 (2013).

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    T. V. Poponnikova, G. Yu. Galieva, V. E. Novikov, and L. G. Galaganova, “Tick-borne encephalitis in children: clinical features and differential diagnosis in modern conditions,”.Russ. Zh. Detsk. Nevrol., 6, No. 2, 11–24 (2011).

  20. 20.

    Y. Lin, G. Zhang, Y. Wang, et al., “Prognostic evaluation of child patients with infectious encephalitis through AEEG and REEG,” Exp. Ther. Med., 16, No. 6, 5243–5247 (2018),

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    W. L. Zhang, C. S. Peng, J. Xia, et al., “Clinical analysis in viral encephalitis patients accompanying generalized tonic clonic seizure,” Zhonghua Shi Yan He Lin Chuang Bing Du Xue Za Zhi, 25, No. 3, 217–219 (2011).

  22. 22.

    B. Çiftçi Kavaklioğlu, E. Çoban, A. Şen, et al., “Review of viral encephalitis cases seen at a tertiary care center in Turkey: Focus on herpes simplex type 1,” Noro Psikiyatr. Ars., 54, No. 3, 209–215 (2017),

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    N. V. Skripchenko, Yu. V. Lobzin, V. B. Voitenkov, et al., “Innovations in the management of neuroinfections in children,” Detsk. Infekts., 16, No. 3, 5–9 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to V. B. Voitenkov.

Additional information

Translated from Rossiiskii Fiziologicheskii Zhurnal imeni I. M. Sechenova, Vol. 106, No. 7, pp. 890–897, July, 2020.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Voitenkov, V.B., Sinkin, M.V., Skripchenko, N.V. et al. Brain Bioelectrical Activity in Children with Acute Viral Encephalitis. Neurosci Behav Physi 51, 410–413 (2021).

Download citation


  • children
  • electroencephalography
  • θ waves
  • encephalitis