Amplified EEGs can produce diagnostic results of a brainwave associated with migraines and epilepsy that are comparable to the current, more invasive, standard. The discovery could lead to better treatment and diagnosis of these conditions.
The low-frequency brainwave linked to migraines and epilepsy, cortical spreading depression (CSD), is currently best studied by placing electrodes directly on the surface of the brain. Researchers from UBC, Germany, and Iran have found that EEGs—produced by placing electrodes only on the scalp—can produce equally reliable data if a specially designed amplifier is used in tandem. The electrical signals acquired from the skin of the scalp were very similar to those acquired from the surface of the brain.
An AC/DC amplifier was designed to acquire electrical signals from scalp electrodes used on anesthetized rats in a much broader frequency range than the standard clinical EEG system. CSD was then induced in the rats, and the recordings from scalp electrodes were compared with recordings from electrodes placed on the rats’ brains.
Researchers believe the new analysis technique could contribute to the development of migraine drugs that target CSD, and to better understanding, diagnosing, and treating migraines, epilepsy, and other neurological conditions such as stroke and traumatic brain injury.
The study is a joint research program between UBC, the University of Münster, and Shefa Neuroscience Research Center and Mashhad University of Medical Sciences in Iran. A paper describing the results was published in July 2016 in Neuroscience. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy.
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