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Short Guide: What is an Electroencephalogram or EEG?

Scott Loeb DO
Medically reviewed by Dr. Loeb
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Scott Loeb DO
Medically reviewed by Dr. Loeb

The brain is the most critical organ of the human body. It handles many processes and sends signals to other organs. So, your brain must be healthy. To be sure of this, specialists carry out special procedures. And one of them is EEG (electroencephalogram).

It records the electrical impulses of the brain’s nerve cells and its departments. So, with it, specialists can determine the brain’s electrical activity. It allows them to analyze the brain’s physiological state, maturity, and disorders.

This diagnostic method is recommended for patients:

  • with headaches;
  • loss of consciousness;
  • dizziness;
  • sleep disorders;
  • convulsive attacks;
  • craniocerebral injuries;
  • inflammatory lesions of the brain (meningitis, encephalitis), etc.

The EEG test is a distinctive and unquestionably useful diagnostic method. After all, it aids in illuminating the structure of the processes that the brain employs. It is entirely safe to undergo the examination. Because it has nothing to do with how radiation or electric currents affect people’s bodies.

What is Electroencephalography?

Medical methods of brain research are pleasantly surprising more and more. And EEG monitoring is no less impressive. So let’s explore deeper and find out what it is.

Electroencephalography is an incredible technology for studying brain activity. It allows you to measure the electrical signals in the brain during its work. EEG recordings can give us essential information about the state of the brain. And it diagnoses a variety of medical conditions.

Close contact with the brain, unattainable for ordinary observation, becomes possible thanks to EEG (electroencephalogram). It uses electrodes that specialists place on the patient’s head. These electrodes can register the electrical signs that are generated in the brain. With the help of special equipment, these signals convert into graphic records. It has the name electroencephalogram.

But what do these graphs mean? Each electroencephalogram consists of waves of different frequencies. They reflect other states of the brain. For example, alpha waves (8-12 Hz) occur when patients relax. And beta waves (13-30 Hz) activate during concentration or physical activity. They can state the presence of pathologies, such as epilepsy.

By analyzing these brain waves, you can gain invaluable information. It is about the state of the brain, mental illnesses, and detecting abnormalities. It enables doctors and scientists to understand various aspects of brain activity. They develop new methods of diagnosis and treatment of brain illnesses based on them.

Electroencephalography procedure

Importance of Electroencephalogram (EEG) Monitoring

This unique technology is essential for diagnosing neurological disorders, epilepsy, and more.

Pathologies or disorders of the brain can occur at any time in a person’s life. You can have ordinary headaches and think that it is just from overwork. But it can be the initial manifestation of a brain disorder. To prevent such hidden diseases and their progression, EEG monitoring is crucial. And its importance lies in many things:

  • It diagnoses neurological disorders

EEG plays a key role in the diagnosis of various neurological infections. It allows you to detect changes in the brain that may state the presence of pathological processes.

  • It detects epileptic seizures

EEG allows the detection of epileptic seizures. It helps to establish the time of onset and duration of the seizure. Besides, it determines its type and characteristics. It provides an opportunity to develop effective treatment plans.

  • It examines brain activity

EEG allows the investigation of functional connectivity and specific responses to external stimuli. It helps to reveal the mechanisms of perception, memory, and other cognitive processes.

  • It monitors the effectiveness of the treatment

EEG of the brain can be used to check the effectiveness of treatment of brain conditions. It allows you to evaluate brain activity changes after using various treatment methods.

EEG Tests: Exploring the Brain’s Electrical Activity

An electroencephalogram is a completely harmless and painless procedure. Thus, there are no restrictions on its implementation. Specialists use it both for older people and children. But how do they explore the brain’s electrical activity? Here are the steps:

  • they use a special machine (electroencephalograph) to do this;
  • during the test, doctors place on your scalp small, flat metal discs;
  • they are connected to the machine;
  • then they pick up the tiny electrical signals that your brain produces.

EEG (electroencephalogram) has numerous benefits for both individuals and the field of medicine:

  1. They are safe, non-invasive, and painless procedures. It means that people of all ages can undergo this without discomfort.
  2. An EEG of the brain helps doctors understand the root cause of seizures. It identifies sleep disorders and monitors brain activity during treatment.
  3. EEG has paved the way for advances in personalized medicine. So, with its progress, specialists identified several types of it:

    1. Routine EEG

    It is one of the easiest and fastest types. During its course, the patient should sit or lie down. It is as long as the electrodes record info about the brain. It usually takes 20 to 60 minutes. To perform a routine EEG test, doctors do the following actions:

    1. The medic explains how the test will take place and what to expect;
    2. They then apply a gel substance to your skin where the electrodes will be;
    3. Then doctors place electrodes on your head;
    4. After that, medics can give some commands. It’s something like opening and closing your eyes and breathing deeply and slowly;
    5. After the necessary data recording period, the doctor turns off the EEG machine.

    2. Sleep EEG

    The human brain works even during sleep. Thus, it is vital to determine its electrical activity even at rest. For such a study, scientists created sleep EEG monitoring. It is done during the nighttime period of sleep. It usually takes 6 to 8 hours. And medics conduct it as follows:

    1. The doctor places a special helmet with electrodes on your head;
    2. Next, you should fall asleep with the electrodes on your head;
    3. Electrodes record the electrical activity of your brain while you sleep. For this, a particular device records this;
    4. The doctor analyzes data about your sleep and brain during it.
    5. Then, the specialist turns off the machine and removes the electrodes.

    3. Ambulatory EEG

    Sometimes doctors need more time to conduct an EEG of the brain. In that case, they do this type of procedure. It lasts day and night for one or more days:

    1. First, the medic place the electrodes on your head using gel;
    2. They connect them to a portable recording device. You can carry these electrodes with you;
    3. Throughout the day, the handheld device records your brain’s electrical activity;
    4. After the ambulatory EEG period ends, you return to the doctor;
    5. They remove the electrodes from your head and analyze the data obtained.

    4. Video EEG Monitoring

    It is the most informative method of analyzing brain activity. Such an EEG (electroencephalogram) allows you to assess the brain in all rest phases. It includes the period of wakefulness, dozing, sleep, and awakening. The uniqueness of this video EEG monitoring is that it records a video. It provides detailed information about the brain. And how do doctors do it? They perform the following steps:

    1. The doctor places the electrodes on your head using a gel. And they also install a video camera for recording;
    2. Electrodes record the electrical activity of your brain. And the video camera simultaneously records your external activity and behavior;
    3. Over several days, the doctor collects data about your brain activity;
    4. The doctor carefully records any detected abnormalities or unusual patterns of brain activity;
    5. Including video recordings, they perform an analysis of your brain.

EEG Test Preparation

A Word From Lone Star Neurology

So, the brain is an organ that you need to check regularly. But you should do it in case of certain suspicions of brain conditions. If you have worries about it, EEG (electroencephalogram) is what you need. If medics detect any neurological diseases, contact Lone Star Neurologists immediately.

We can help you identify and treat such diseases. Our many years of experience allow us to assist any patient. And it doesn’t matter whether it is epilepsy or sleep disorders. We are here to help and treat you.


How long is an EEG test? 

An EEG test usually takes about 45 minutes. But it’s important to note that the actual time may differ. Because its duration depends on the specific needs and conditions of the patient.


Are EEG tests painful or uncomfortable?

EEG tests are typically pain-free and comfortable. The process involves attaching small sensors to the scalp. It doesn’t cause discomfort or irritation and is gentle on the skin.


What is the use of electroencephalograms?

Its main purpose is to detect and analyze abnormal electrical activity in the brain. It is especially useful for diagnosing epilepsy. Also, it studies sleep disorders and checks the effects of medications on the brain.


What should I not do before an EEG test?

Before an EEG test, it is best not to eat a heavy meal and consume alcohol. You should not drink anything with caffeine for 12 hours before the test. Besides, don’t take medications or supplements that may alter brain activity.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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