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Posted in: Medical Devices & Technology

THE EEG: A PERSPECTIVE AND AN INSIGHT

EEG The realms of diagnostic tools to monitor brain function and wellness are both exciting and complex. The human brain is a mystery and remains a labyrinth of miraculous biochemical properties which are hitherto not all known to us.

Among the most accurate tool is the EEG. This is a test that tracks electrical activity in the brain of the patient. The device uses minute metal discs that are connected to the scalp. The discs are known as electrodes and serve to communicate with the neurological tissue using electrical impulses. Interestingly, this can be achieved in a wakeful state as well as when the subject is sleeping. A recording is obtained for reference and storage and the graph is wavy in nature. The profile and nature of this graph are diagnostically significant.

If we look back, EEG is a GRAS( generally regarded as safe) procedure with several advantages. It is an OPD procedure and requires minimum preparation. Moreover, the recipient does not experience any discomfort or pain.

Another significant advantage is that the EEG Test takes around 40 to 45 minutes in totality. Some variants of EEG recording may require a longer time but one can go home once the test has been completed. An EEG is indicative and used to obtain a better understanding of conditions like seizures, epilepsy, coma, and brain tracking during surgical procedures.

The recording obtained in the EEG is classified as normal or abnormal to reach a diagnosis. EEG as a procedure is accurate in the aetiological study of conditions such as Brain tumors, encephalopathy which implies brain dysfunction due to numerous causes, disturbance in behavior, sleep changes, brain Inflammation or encephalitis, and even Stroke. Brain death can also be confirmed through EEG.

There is a lot of apprehension about the preparatory steps to be taken by the patient before the test. The scalp is not shaved though hairstyles and cosmetic products on the hair are strictly prohibited. The gel used to make the electrode connections are mild and harmless. Caffeine or products containing caffeine like chocolates and cola drinks are not allowed to be consumed by the patient at least twelve to fourteen hours before the EEG Test. An innovative variant of the EEG Test is to combine the test with sleep patterns. This test is carefully carried out during the REM and non-REM cycles of the patient’s sleep. Individuals with optimal coordination of the motor-neural kind may be able to speak and perform other cognitively engaging activities with only a minor drop in BCI-control performance.

Logistics for an EEG Test can range from USD 200 to USD 3,500 in the general sense. On the downside, the dire outcomes of being misdiagnosed with epilepsy are obvious and abject. Hence, this diagnostic tool should be dealt with in a cautious and scientific manner. However, the test is coupled sometimes with ECG for a multifaceted insight into the condition of the patient. The ECG (electrocardiogram) is a record of the minute electrical pulses generated by the heart during a cardiac cycle, whereas the EEG is a recording of the electrical activity of the brain on a moving paper strip through the electrodes placed on the scalp. All in all, the EEG is truly valuable.

Jyoti D Vora

MSc., PhD, F.S.Sc. , MASFFBC, CME (USA), Net Cleared, Certified Functional Foods Scientist, (FFC, USA), Proprietor and CEO, Dhirang Consultants, Mumbai.

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