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What Are Brain Waves?

Brain waves are electrical potentials activity of the brain. They communicate between neurons within our brains. Brain waves occur at various frequencies, some are fast and some are slow. They have different names: Alpha, Beta, Theta, Delta, Gamma. They’re measured in hertz (frequency) or cycles per second. When there is a great number of abnormal waves present in any part of the brain, it can cause difficulty in focusing, concentrating, controlling impulses, mood swings and even hyperactivity. So, when we are able to see our brain waves on a screen, it gives us the ability to see the complications and a treatment plan can be provided.

Why are brain waves important?
If there is an unusual pattern in your brain waves, your provider may look into ruling out types of brain disorders or a brain disarrangement by ordering an electroencephalogram (EEG).

What is an EEG?
This is a valuable tool we use at THINK Neurology for Kids that detects electrical activity in the brain using small disks (electrodes) attached to the scalp. The brain communicates by sending electrical impulses, even when you are sleeping. These are the wavy lines your provider will analyze for abnormalities. An EEG can determine the enhancements in brain activity and is useful in diagnosing brain disorders such as…
- Seizure disorder
- Head injury
- Encephalitis
- Brain tumor
- Encephalopathy
- Memory problems
- Sleep disorders
- Strokes
- Dementia
- Brain damage
- Dizziness
- Headaches
- Sleeping problems
- Brain death
- Alzheimer’s
- Degeneration of brain tissue

How do I get an EEG?
Your doctor will order an EEG during your visit. A short-term study happens at your appointment and lasts only about 20 minutes. A long-term study is done at your home, this EEG will last for 65 hours. We want to capture any abnormal brain waves when your child sleeps, wakes or plays. Both short term and long-term EEGs are an easy and painless process. Results will take approximately 3 weeks from the time of disconnect to the time it's a complete report. Normal results are shared with you via a call and email. A follow up visit will be required to discuss any abnormal findings and a treatment plan will be put in place. Based on what your doctor advises you, your child will either have medication, lifestyle changes, or therapies. Your provider may want to repeat the EEG to be sure no more abnormal brain waves are occurring.

Adrianna Garcia Adrianna Garcia Adrianna Garcia is a 10th grade High School student intern at THINK Neurology for Kids this summer. Her interests are are trying to understand how the brain works and how to read the brain’s activities!

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