Martha Jefferson Healthwise: EEG

By: Cheryn Stone Email
By: Cheryn Stone Email

November 18, 2009

Doctor Alex Grunsfeld joined CBS19's Cheryn Stone to show off a new addition to Martha Jefferson Hospital, the Electroencephalogram (EEG). An EEG measures and records the electrical activity in our brains.

"As we have become more sophisticated in treating patients and keeping them alive in serious diseases, the EEG has become an increasingly important tool," said Dr. Grunsfeld.

Other tests take a snapshot of the brain at a specific moment, like the exact second you lift your arm, but the EEG is different. It says something about the function of your brain over time, which allows doctors to assess what is going on up there.

EEG testing is commonly used to diagnose Epilepsy.

"Sometimes patients present with seizures that don't stop or they have recurrent seizures and they don't return to their normal function after the seizures. That state is called status epilepticus," said Dr. Grunsfeld.

The status epilepticus state is a life threatening situation.

"The seizures need to be stopped immediately, or as soon as possible because if they are allowed to continue unabated, then damage can be done to the brain and it can become fatal," said Dr. Grunsfeld.

The EEG helps doctors diagnose epilepsy and then treat it. One Martha Jefferson Hospital patient had an EEG and still enjoys the benefits. Her family though she had a stroke, but she remained confused and not herself.

"The EEG actually demonstrated that she was having small little seizures occurring on a frequent basis. Coming from the right side, front of her brain, and we were able to treat those seizures and make sure they were going away. The following day after she got treated, she kinda snapped back into her self and she was able to function normally and able to go back with her family," said Dr. Grunsfeld.

Doctors at Martha Jefferson are glad they have this new device that helps patients and doctors use their brains.

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