Mayo Clinic: Hospitals underuse EEG technology

Electroencephalography (EEG) is underused as an investigative tool in hospitals, even though it can be used to identify treatable causes of common disorders in hospital patients, according to a new study from the Mayo Clinic. Researchers argue that EEG could be used more widely to pinpoint causes of impaired consciousness in a hospital setting.

Their work is published in this month's Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

For the study, more than 1,000 non-intubated patients ages 18 and older in a general hospital setting who unerwent inpatient EEG for altered mental status (AMS) or paroxysmal spells were retroactively analyzed; AMS, according to the researchers, "sometimes be linked to metabolic or cardiac causes." However such spells also can represent seizures or non-convulsive epilepsy, the researchers noted. The aim was to determine the frequency of seizures and indications of epilepsy activity detected via EEG.

Nearly 80 percent of patients (825) had an abnormal EEG finding.

"The present findings underscore the relatively high frequency of seizures in non-critical hospitalized patients with spells or AMS, a finding that has seemingly been underappreciated by neurologists and non-neurologists alike," lead investigator John Betjemann, an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, said, according to an announcement

Neuroscientists at the University of California-Irvine recently discovered another use for EEGs, using them as fiber-optic light signals with the potential to stop epileptic seizures. A mouse model of temporal lobe epilepsy was used to create an EEG-based computer system that activates optical strands implanted in the brain when a seizure is detected.

To learn more:
- read the study from Mayo Clinic Proceedings
- read the announcement

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