qEEG brain mapping process

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I. The Equipment:
Most clinicians use “brain caps” that fit on the head with the leads sewn in at precise locations, referred to as The International 10-20 System. This configuration allows doctors and clinicians the opportunity to talk about the same thing, and identify areas of the brain just by looking at a report.

After this brain cap is placed upon the head, conductive gel/paste is applied to the sensors. This helps make contact between the scalp and the lead/sensor that is sending data to the EEG machine.

II. The Assessment:
EEG recordings can be 5 minutes or 24 hours, depending on what is being tested. In the clinical world, 5-10 minute assessments are common, whereby there may be multiple runs (several 5-10 minute tests back to back) that compare and contrast brainwave activity. For example, looking at the brain eyes open, eyes closed, and maybe under a math or reading task is common.

Once the doctor or clinican is done with the brain mapping process, they will remove the cap from your head, or each individual lead if they don’t use a cap. You are then free to wash the gel/paste out of your hair if they have facilities. But don’t worry, the most common solution, Electrogel, is water soulable. Personally, I’ve alredy had it in my hair for a clinical study I was doing for over 4 hours and it still came out with minimal scrubbing.

III. The Analysis:
Depending on the speed and reporting, most qEEG assessments run this raw EEG data that was just collected through several different software programs and normative databases.

First, we will discuss the databases. The raw EEG that was captured, converted into digital format, is now imported into a software analysis database for further clinical review. These databases can show if the balance between the left and right hemisphere, as well as if all 19 sites measured are within normal ranges with the database. In addition, the software can check different brainwave ratios that correlate with ADD, depression, anxiety, trauma, etc. Colorful maps can be printed showing the entire head at each frequency the brain operates at – a great roadmap for neurofeedback, audiovisual entrainment, and other brain balancing methods.

In addition to databases, there are software programs that can use the raw EEG data and predict what areas of the brain could be contributing to the imbalances in the outer cortex (the area that the EEG machine measures). Put simply, the inner brain regions in some ways regulate the outerbrain’s activity, and this is the goal of software, such as the LORETA analysis program. It allows you to speculate about what parts of the inner brain are running too hot or not hot enough, and by regulating these areas, one may find the cortex/outer brain follows and normalizes.

With this data, the raw EEG, and the quanatative assessment, one can then make an educated decision on how to balance his/her brain. For qEEG assessments that show little inner brain abnormalities, Neurofeedback may be an option. For cases where there are both cortical and inner brain imbalances or abnormalities, medications, brainwave entrainment, and audio visual entrainment or CES (cranial electro-stimulation) may be an option.

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