The electroencephalogram (EEG) is a commonly used diagnostic test that measures and records the electrical activity in the brain.

An EEG can be used to:

  • Diagnose epilepsy and seizures
  • Study sleep disorders
  • Evaluate problems in brain functioning, such as confusion, dementia or loss of consciousness
  • Evaluate psychiatric patients

The procedure typically takes one hour, and is painless. To perform the test, a nurse or technician will attach 16-25 electrodes to your scalp, using a special, temporary glue. You will not feel any pain as the electrical activity in your brain is recorded.

During the exam, the nurse or technician may ask you to breathe slowly or quickly, or may use visual stimuli to evaluate their effects on your brain activity. Once the exam is completed, you are able to go home and resume normal activities. Patients who have been sleep deprived for the study should make arrangements to get a ride home and not drive.

EMG / Nerve Conduction Studies

An electromyogram (EMG) measures the electrical activity in muscles, at rest and during contraction. Some patterns of electrical activity indicate a disease of the nerves or muscles.

Nerve conduction studies are often done along with an EMG. Nerve conduction studies measure how well and how fast the nerves can send electrical signals to the muscles. During this test, low-voltage electrical shocks are used to stimulate the nerves, which in turn stimulate the muscle. The test records the ability of the nerve to send the impulse to the muscle. Abnormal results suggest a person may be suffering from a disease that damages the muscles or nerves.

EMG and nerve conduction studies can help diagnose diseases that damage muscle tissue, nerves, or the junctions between nerves and muscles, such as:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Myasthenia Gravis (MG)
  • Peripheral neuropathies
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Myositis

An EMG takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes, and a nerve conduction study can take anywhere from 15 minutes to one hour, depending on how many areas are being tested. 

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit

The Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) is a specialized inpatient unit dedicated to improving outcomes for epileptic patients. Staffed by specially trained neurologists, nurses and technicians, the unit is designed to accommodate epileptic patients while they are video-recorded and monitored by EEG around the clock, for an extended period of time.

Although medications successfully control seizures for many epileptic patients, there are many others for whom traditional medical therapies are ineffective. For these patients, the EMU plays a critical role in evaluation.

In contrast to a standard encephalogram (EEG) which records brain activity for approximately 30 minutes, the EMU performs extended studies for one to several days. This prolonged recording provides a more complete picture of brain activity before, during and after seizures. This data enables the neurologist to better define the type of seizure and to identify precisely the area in the brain where the seizure originates. The video recording enables the neurologist to observe the patient's behavior and body movements during a seizure. Along with other brain imaging studies, the video EEG provides valuable information in determining and delivering the most effective treatment option.

To make the experience as comfortable as possible, patients stay in a private room with a private bathroom. While patients may move about their rooms, patients are restricted from leaving their rooms to maintain continuous video and EEG monitoring.

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