Lambda waves and occipital generators

William O. Tatum, Reynold C. Ly, Monika Sluzewska-Niedzwiedz, Jerry J. Shih

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to identify the relationship between lambda waves (LWs) and other occipital waveforms, in a retrospective analysis of electroencephalograms (EEGs) of clinic and hospitalized patients at a single center. The LWs were correlated with α rhythm, photic driving, and positive occipital sharp transients of sleep (POSTS). A computer-generated cursor quantified amplitude and duration of POSTS and LWs (3 waveforms and both hemispheres). Fisher exact test was used for significance (P ≤.05). A total of 116 patients were evaluated. Of 111 patients, with interpretable results, 74 (66.67%) had visual scanning during EEG, with 37 (50.0%) having LWs. The LWs (17.69 μV) were consistently smaller than POSTS (31.40 μV) despite similar morphology. Patients with an α rhythm of >8.5 Hz were strongly correlated with the presence of LWs (P <.0001), and those with LWs were strongly predictive of normal EEG (P =.001). Of the 37 patients, 27 (73.0%) with LWs had photic driving (P =.0496). No correlation was found between LWs and POSTS (P =.45). The presence of LWs and a low normal posterior dominant rhythm (PDR) suggests intact electrocerebral health. LWs and the photic driving response suggest similar generators but stimulus-specific networks. POSTS differ from LWs despite similar morphology, suggesting different network activation of occipital generators. LWs have clinical significance in excluding encephalopathy. Occipital generators are differentiated by state and stimulus-dependent network activation and not by location and morphology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-312
Number of pages6
JournalClinical EEG and Neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • EEG
  • generators
  • lambda waves
  • occipital
  • photic driving
  • α rhythm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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