Home Tips Electroencephalogram: The Process, Results, and Common Questions

Electroencephalogram: The Process, Results, and Common Questions

Electroencephalogram: The Process, Results, and Common Questions

An electroencephalogram allows doctors to check the electrical activity of neurons and to discover brain alterations. Learn more here.

The brain is made up of a giant and complicated network of specialised cells called neurons. It communicates through electrical stimuli that could be analyzed by the use of the electroencephalogram.

The health of the human brain and all the central nervous system (CNS) could be assessed through a lot of tests. In this manner, it’s possible to detect structural abnormalities and disorders of nerve function in time. Electroencephalography, tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging are a number of the most typical tests.

Electroencephalogram is the strategy of alternative for the diagnosis of seizures and epilepsy, in line with specialists. This medical tool has saved tens of millions of lives. Nevertheless, its usefulness goes far beyond diagnosis.

What’s the electroencephalogram?

It is a functional exploration technique that measures the brain’s electrical activity in real time. In keeping with studies, it was Hans Berger who coined the term electroencephalogram (EEG) in 1929 to explain the recording of brain electrical fluctuations captured by electrodes attached to the scalp.

Neurons are at all times lively, transmitting electrical impulses throughout the CNS. EEG captures and amplifies these electrical signals, representing them in wavy lines that outline the activity of different brain regions.

Most often, an EEG is performed within the basal state and subject to activation methods, corresponding to hyperventilation or visual stimulation. In reality, some professionals recommend obtaining an in depth brain recording during sleep. As well as, 24-hour follow-up EEGs can be found.

This test leads to normal and abnormal patterns that allow the diagnosis of injuries or characteristic disorders, corresponding to seizures. For that reason, it’s a complementary study widely utilized in neurological consultation.

Neurons have an electrical activity that we are able to measure. The tracing of this measurement is interpreted in neurology.

Why is that this test performed?

It’s of medical interest to guage the state of brain electrical activity in those individuals with suspected episodic or persistent nervous disorders. Amongst essentially the most frequent indications for electroencephalograms are the next:

  • Alteration of upper functions, corresponding to memory and consciousness
  • Epilepsy or other convulsive syndromes
  • Sleep disorders, corresponding to insomnia
  • Encephalitis and other CNS infections
  • Cerebrovascular disease (CVD)
  • Monitoring during brain surgery
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Cranial tumors
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Likewise, an EEG is helpful to verify brain death in patients in a deep coma. Likewise, it offers data of interest in drug-induced anesthesia.

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Possible risks and contraindications

Usually, an EEG is a reasonably secure technique and doesn’t cause any form of pain or opposed response. Controlled methods are sometimes used to induce seizures, corresponding to light stimulation or hyperventilation. Nevertheless, the specialist is trained to offer medical attention if needed.

Preparations for an EEG

There are several recommendations that ought to be followed before performing an EEG. In this manner, we be certain that the test is performed appropriately and without errors in the outcomes.

On this regard, preparations for the EEG include the next:

  • Wash your hair the night before or several hours prior to the study.
  • Avoid using hair conditioners, gels, oils, creams, or hairsprays, as they could hinder the adhesion of the electrodes.
  • Within the case of hair extensions, ask your healthcare provider for instructions.
  • Don’t change or discontinue any regular medication without your doctor’s indication. Seek the advice of your healthcare provider for further information.
  • Avoid caffeinated foods or beverages 6 to eight hours before the test.
  • Sleep lower than usual within the case of an EEG during sleep.
  • Don’t take energizers or other products to stay up, especially if it’s worthwhile to sleep through the test.

How is the EEG performed?

This test is performed by an expert EEG technician in a medical center, private office, or laboratory. He/she shall be answerable for guiding the patient through the entire process in a secure and straightforward manner.

Throughout the test

The person to be evaluated must lie down on a stretcher or reclining chair. Then, a technician shall be answerable for measuring different diameters of the skull and marking the points where the electrodes shall be placed. These discs don’t produce any form of pain and are answerable for recording brain activity.

Usually, the electrodes are placed on the scalp using a special adhesive. Sometimes, caps that include the electrodes are used. The electrodes shall be connected by wires to an instrument that may capture and amplify the electrical signal.

Throughout the test, the person being tested must remain relaxed and together with his or her eyes closed. Occasionally, the technician may ask the person to open and shut the eyelids, take a fast, deep breath, perform a calculation, or take a look at a vivid light. As well as, the patient may be asked to sleep through the evaluation.

Most often, the body movements through the EEG are captured on video. In this manner, the physician can mix the brain wave recording with these images to acquire a more accurate diagnosis.

Alternatively, an ambulatory EEG could also be indicated for individuals who require more prolonged monitoring. This unit will accompany the patient throughout the day and can keep the brain’s electrical recordings while the standard activities are performed.

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After the test

The essential EEG normally lasts 20 to 40 minutes, once the electrodes are in position. Nevertheless, as mentioned earlier, some tests may require the patient to sleep, which lengthens the test.

At the tip of the EEG, the technician will remove the electrodes from the scalp. Some people may require sedatives to induce sleep, so a friend or member of the family may have to accompany them home after the test. For those who don’t eat any form of sedative, you possibly can resume your day by day activities as normal.

The electrodes capture the brain’s electricity. It’s best that the hair has not been treated with products 24 hours before.

Results of the electroencephalogram

This test provides a printed record of brain activity, represented by waves which are drawn with different frequencies and amplitudes. EEG characteristics vary in line with the state of consciousness. On this sense, the waves are often faster when the patient is awake and slower during sleep phases.

Health professionals are the one ones qualified to interpret an EEG and supply an accurate diagnosis. Usually, the presence of broad, sharp waves may indicate a seizure syndrome, corresponding to epilepsy. Bleeding, tumors, and brain aneurysms are other common causes of abnormal findings.

If you might have any concerns, don’t hesitate to seek the advice of a physician specializing in neurology.

EEG: A useful gizmo for assessing brain health

The EEG is a secure and useful test for evaluating the health of the brain and all the central nervous system. Early diagnosis of neurological diseases improves the standard of lifetime of many individuals and prevents long-term complications. Its administration and interpretation have to be done by health professionals.

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