What does an Electroencephalogram (EEG) Test?

by Anthony Carter on April 8, 2011


ElectroencephalogramAn Electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test or scan that is used to diagnose epilepsy and other conditions. This type of test works by measuring the electrical activity in the brain. This information can provide a lot of useful information. The neurons in the brain produce electrical activity and it is for this reason that the test works.

How an Electroencephalogram (EEG) Work?

This type of test is completely painless. It just involves placing electrodes on your head; these will then have wires attached and the information will be passed into a special device that can interpret the data. In most instances this test takes about an hour or possible two; during that time the results the electrical activity is printed onto a roll of paper. Any movement can interfere with the results so there will usually be a video to record any movement that occurs so that they don’t flaw the test. This type of test can be conducted in a hospital or sometimes in a neurology clinic.

During the test itself you will likely be asked to perform certain actions. This could involve such actions as breathing deeply or blinking. You might also be asked to look at some flashing lights. These can trigger seizures but you will be in a controlled environment where you will be safe.

How to Prepare for an Electroencephalogram

There is little bit of preparation required for this type of test. It is important thought that you inform those taking the test of any medication you are currently taking. It is advised that you wash your hair before arriving and that you don’t apply and type of gel or other hair creams. You need to avoid any alcohol or other mind altering chemicals before the test.

When you arrive for the test your head is likely to be measured. There will also usually be some markings made on your head with a special marker that can be easily washed off later. This is all done by a trained technician and the aim is to decide on the best placement for the electrodes. These electrodes are then applied to your hear using a special adhesive. There is no need to shave the head and the adhesive glue used is easy to wash off later.

The Results of an Electroencephalogram

The EEG provides a lot of useful information that a trained neurologist can interpret to mean doffing things. The print out may look like just squiggles to a lay person but they can provide the neurologist with plenty of information. This tool is most often used to diagnose epilepsy; it can appear as sharp spikes on the graph. It is possible for the expert to decide on where the epilepsy is occurring also by the information provided in this test.

The Electroencephalogram is a very useful test and it involves minimal discomfort. The quality of the information provided by the EEG means that it is well worth having if your neurologist feels that it is required.

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