The EEG

The EEG records the pattern of electrical activity from various parts of the brain. The main types of activity are called alpha, beta, delta, and theta. Most, but not all, patients with organic brain disorders show abnormalities on EEG. The main practical use of the EEG is in the diagnosis of epilepsy; for detecting focal brain lesions, computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are more helpful. Patients with untreated 'functional' psychiatric illness usually have normal EEGs, but treatment with psychotropic drugs and electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) alters the pattern.

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