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What is an EEG and What Happens During the Test? - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Martha Jefferson Monday: What is an EEG and What Happens During the Test?

Electroencephalogram Electroencephalogram

An electroencephalogram, often referred to as an EEG, is a test that's frequently performed on someone who experiences an altered state of consciousness or shaking, to determine whether there is ongoing seizure activity.  

"Most often an EEG will show footprints, or evidence that there is abnormal brain wave activity, even though a specific electrical seizure is not recorded," said Dr. Jeremy Gill, a neurologist at the Martha Jefferson Neuroscience Center.  

To begin the test, a technician places electrodes over the patient's scalp. It looks like it might hurt being all wired up, but that's not the case.  

"The wires are really just microphones that are listening to your brain waves. It's an entirely painless study," commented. Dr. Gill.  

Once wired, the test lasts about 30 minutes and includes periods of rapid breathing, flashing lights and then simple relaxation. Each situation is meant to mimic different environments a person might experience. Then, based on the results of the test, doctors can make an educated diagnosis.  

"An EEG is a functional test," commented Dr. Gill. "It shows what's happening with the brain waves at the time, and so it's most useful for people who have questions of seizure frequency, and can help answer whether their events truly are seizures or other shaking spells."  

For more information on this topic, or Martha Jefferson's Neuroscience Center, Call Health Connection at (434) 654-7009.  

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