The brain is constantly sending and receiving electrical signals. When that signaling gets disrupted, a seizure occurs. Abnormal electrical activity in the brain doesn’t always occur during a routine EEG, especially when the patient only experiences epilepsy waves once every few hours or during certain times of the day.
Imaging Technology and Techniques: How Do They Work, Why Are They Used, and How Are They Relevant to Neurological Conditions?
Imaging techniques help researchers and clinicians to gain a better understanding of anatomy and physiology. Many different technologies exist that provide clinicians images into the many different components of the human body, and they serve different purposes for different patients. There are many, including MRIs, CT, PET and SPECT scans, x-rays, ultrasounds, and EEGs.
A recent study showed that researchers can use resting-state electroencephalogram (EEG) measurements to identify four different distinct subtypes of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease, a condition that results in degraded motor neuron function. The researchers also demonstrated that these subtypes are capable of predicting clinical trajectory and outcomes.
The EEG is used to detect epilepsy in patients, showing irregular brain activity that indicates seizures. However, as the test records electrical activity in the brain, other diagnoses can be made or supported with an EEG.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, was previously known as dementia pugilistica or “punch-drunk syndrome” for its association with former boxers demonstrating declining ability, memory loss, and lack of coordination. The hallmark risk factor that separates the syndrome from other tauopathies and dementias is repeated trauma to the head, otherwise known as traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs. It’s this repeated trauma where things become an issue for contact sports.
The field of electroencephalography began with the discovery of recordable electrical potentials from animals in the late 19th century, and in the 1920s, a neuropsychiatrist from Germany, Dr. Hans Berger, recorded the first potentials from human patients and created the procedure we know as the EEG.
Vagus nerve stimulation is a treatment that has been occasionally used to treat epilepsy, treatment-resistant depression, and even Alzheimer’s dementia. Are you familiar with this unusual treatment? Are you familiar with the vagus nerve? Though it’s not commonly known, it’s a critical part of your nervous system and has many potential clinical implications. Let’s chat about the vagus nerve and vagus nerve stimulation, but first, some background and context.