Electroencephalograms (EEG) can help unlock brain disorders

"Electroencephalograms (EEGs) are vital tools used in neurology and neuroscience," says Andrea S. Raymond, MD, Neurology at ARC East 7th. "This non-invasive test records electrical activity in the brain and is instrumental in monitoring and diagnosing various brain disorders by detecting abnormal brainwaves or patterns."

Brainwave recordings help neurologists map the intricate patterns of neural activity, allowing them to diagnose and monitor conditions like epilepsy, sleep disorders, brain injuries, and other neurological conditions.

Through advanced techniques in brain mapping, EEGs enable researchers to explore the complexities of cognitive function, unraveling the mysteries of the human mind. In the ever-evolving field of neuroscience, EEGs play a fundamental role, serving as a gateway to understanding the brain's functions and dysfunctions.

What conditions can an EEG help diagnose?

  • Epilepsy: EEGs are pivotal in diagnosing epilepsy, a condition characterized by recurrent seizures. By capturing abnormal electrical discharges in the brain, EEGs assist doctors in determining the type of seizures and devising appropriate treatment plans.
  • Sleep disorders: EEGs can help diagnose sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy. By monitoring brain activity during sleep, doctors can identify irregularities and recommend suitable interventions.
  • Brain injuries: Patients with traumatic brain injuries often undergo EEG tests to assess brain function and identify potential complications arising from the injury.
  • Neurological disorders: EEGs aid in diagnosing various neurological disorders like dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and movement disorders by detecting specific patterns associated with these conditions.

How does an EEG work?

During an EEG, electrodes (small, flat metal discs) are placed on the scalp at specific locations. These electrodes are connected to an EEG machine, which records the electrical activity of the brain as waves. The patient is usually asked to relax with their eyes closed and, in some cases, perform specific tasks like deep breathing or flashing lights to provoke brain activity. The EEG machine then records these electrical signals, which neurologists analyze to identify any abnormalities.

How long does an EEG test take?

The duration of an EEG test typically ranges from 45 minutes to 2 hours. However, in some cases, especially for monitoring sleep patterns, prolonged EEGs can last for several hours or even overnight. The length of the test depends on the specific purpose, such as diagnosing epilepsy, monitoring brain activity during sleep, or evaluating responses to stimuli.

"The good news is that getting an EEG is painless and non-invasive," says Dr. Raymond. "While the results are not immediate and require evaluation by a neurologist, the insights gained can prove invaluable for your overall health and well-being."

Make an appointment today

ARC Neurologists offer cutting-edge neurological diagnosis and treatment for various neurologic conditions, including stroke, seizures, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, migraines, and dementias. They serve as primary or consulting healthcare providers, working with your primary care physician.

You can make an appointment online with an ARC Neurologist with MyChart or by visiting the ARC Neurology web page to find the ARC Clinic closest to you. Your ARC Primary Care Physician can also refer you to an ARC Neurologist.

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