Updated: Mar 9, 2021
Why you forget things you know you shouldn't, why you feel anxious, sad or tired all the time?
Advances in neuroscience can now give you the answer by quantifying your EEG! This noninvasive method records your EEG activity and compares it to a database of your peers to determine whether dysregulation in your EEG is the cause of your experience.
Research has shown that certain EEG phenotypes are linked to symptom profiles - shedding light on why you feel the way you do.
Armed with this knowledge one can make informed decisions on how to make the required changes to resolve the symptoms you may be struggling with.
What is a qEEG?
A qEEG (quantitative Electroencephalogram) is a diagnostic tool that measures electrical activity in the form of brain wave patterns. It is sometimes referred to as “brain mapping.”
Brain waves are the rhythmic electrical impulses generated when the millions and millions of neurons inside your head communicate with each other. Brain waves can reveal important information about your overall brain function, including stress levels, thou ght patterns, and emotions. A qEEG can reveal brain wave patterns that are associated with impulsivity, cognitive inflexibility, anxiety, and other symptoms.
How can it help?
A qEEG is a very valuable component of the comprehensive evaluation needed to make decisions about appropriate treatment options. It helps understand the cortical electrical activity in the brain. It can show if activity in the brain is too high or too low, and it can reveal how your brain cells are communicating with each other.
It can be helpful in many ways, including:
• Identifying cognitive and psychiatric problems
• Showing how your brain wave patterns can be improved
• Predicting medication response, such as how you are likely to respond to antidepressant medication
• Providing valuable information in creating a personalized treatment plan (which may include biofeedback techniques such as neurofeedback) to help balance your brain
• Tracking your progress with different therapies and treatments
In conjunction with other psychometric assessments, qEEG gives us additional information about how your brain functions and can be used for baseline information as well as to track progress with treatment. We can use the information from qEEG as a guide to determine the most effective solutions to help you change your brain and improve your memory, boost focus and attention, reduce depression, minimize anxiety, and enhance overall performance.
Who can benefit from qEEG?
A qEEG can be performed on people of all ages – adults, adolescents and children. People struggling with mental health symptoms may benefit from an evaluation that includes qEEG to help identify brain wave patterns associated with a variety of conditions, including:
Traumatic Brain Injury
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
What research shows about qEEG
There are literally thousands of research studies on qEEG for a wide variety of clinical indications, including memory problems, anxiety, depression, traumatic brain injury (TBI), ADD/ADHD, and processing issues in autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
• A distinctive brain wave pattern is associated with depression.
• Researchers have used qEEG to distinguish depression from other conditions, such as dementia, schizophrenia, and alcoholism.
• Memory issues typically show up as too much theta or too much delta activity
• Children and adults with ADD/ADHD tend to have high theta and delta brain wave activity, and kids and adolescents with ADD/ADHD tend to have lower beta brain wave activity compared those who don’t have the condition.
Dr. Joel Lubar at the University of Tennessee has conducted a lot of research on brain wave underactivity in children with ADD/ADHD. In published research using qEEG, Dr. Lubar demonstrated that children with ADD/ADHD had excessive slow brain wave activity in the front part of their brain, which worsened when they tried to concentrate. Dr. Lubar also demonstrated that many individuals can develop more normal brain wave patterns—and therefore improved focus and behaviour—through brain wave biofeedback called neurofeedback. This therapy has been found to enhance memory, focus, and mental clarity; decrease impulsivity and anxiety; improve moods; boost academic performance, and lead to more restful sleep.
Is qEEG safe?
qEEG is non-invasive, painless, and safe to use. The electrodes in the cap that are placed on the scalp are like a “read-only” program that receives signals from the brain. The electrodes do not alter brain activity in any way; they simply reveal areas where brain wave activity is healthy, underactive, or overactive.
Having the qEEG is a simple, painless process that takes a total of 45 -60min. You will need to sit quietly while the electrodes are attached on your head using some conductive paste. These electrodes are connected through a device that captured the signals that the brain is producing. That device is wired to the computer which will read and interpret the signals the electrodes are receiving from the brain. The electrodes will record your brain activity while you sit quietly for 5 -8 min with your eyes open and again for 5-8 min while your eyes are closed.
Based on these two recordings of neural electrical activity, the computer will show coloured patterns – or maps – of your brain. With this information, we are able to evaluate your brain wave patterns and detect any imbalances that may be contributing to your symptoms. This can help us to create a personalised protocol to help balance your brain and minimize your symptoms.