Electroencephalography (EEG) is the activity of measuring electrical patterns, also known as
brainwaves, at the surface of the scalp. These electrical patterns reflect activity in the outer
layer of the cerebrum, which is responsible for integrating sensory and neural functions. When
referring to Quantitative EEG (qEEG), a doctor is analyzing digitized EEG results so that they
can interpret them and better understand a patients brain function. Thanks to the mass
statistical analysis of EEG results we now have a normative database and doctors can track
brain function changes for a variety of purposes.
How is EEG revolutionary?
EEG is different from other brain scanning options because it measures electrical activity in
comparison to cross-sectional imaging (MRI, PET, CT scan) or blood flow (fMRI). The ability to
see brainwaves is what is revolutionary about EEG scans. Brainwaves are the root of us; they
are our thoughts, body commands, behaviours, and emotions, the result of communication
between the neurons in our brains. Essentially EEG provides doctors with quantitative data on
how a patients brain is functioning.
Brainwave Overview
There are many different kinds of brainwaves, with the main four being Beta, Alpha, Theta, and
Delta. Beta brainwaves are fast brainwaves, and when they are present they show an engaged,
alert, and focused mind – they are 12 Hz up to 38 Hz. Alpha brainwaves are indicative of a mind
that is at relaxed awareness; meditation brings them out – they are between 8 Hz and 12 Hz.
Theta brainwaves appear when a person is drowsy or daydreaming and are the first stage of
sleep (Theta brainwaves are present in children up to 13 years old when alert but should not be
present in alert adults) – they are between 4 Hz to 8 Hz. Delta brainwaves appear when
someone is deeply sleeping or show background thoughts (they have been shown to trigger
healing and growth and are the dominant brainwave in infants) – they are 0.5 Hz to 4 Hz. All
brainwaves types are necessary. There are two other brainwaves worth mentioning, and those
are Infra-low, which are below 0.5 Hz and are difficult to detect, and Gamma waves, which are
38 Hz and up.
How can this help detect concussions?
Detecting concussions use to be a challenging practice. Traditionally an MRI or CT scan can be
done to try and detect bleeding or bruising to the brain, but in many concussions this is not
present. Doctors also could test balance and vision problems, and go through symptoms with
patients. Due to patients not realizing they have a concussion, and doctors not spotting all
concussions, concussions have been traditionally underdiagnosed which can lead to difficulties
for patients.
Thanks to statistical data, qEEG can be applied to patients who may be suffering from a
concussion and abnormalities can be found in their EEG results, and appropriate treatment and
therapies can be provided. Continuous EEG scans can also be taken after the original diagnosis
to track healing.
Naturopathic Care at Northshore Naturopathic Clinic in Vancouver
If you believe you have a concussion then, please, contact us at Northshore Naturopathic Clinic.
Our Naturopathic doctor will be able to perform appropriate tests and provide the care that you need to get your life back on track. Contact us today.