EEG in childhood – an important study of the work of the cerebral cortex

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EEG in childhood – an important study of the work of the cerebral cortex

EEG of the brain in children, what is it? This is a type of study of the work of the cerebral cortex, based on the recording and display of electrical impulses. Do not worry about how safe the study is if you decide to do an EEG for your child: 

  • The biocurrents flowing along the electrodes are very small and do not harm the child’s body.
  • The research equipment is pre-grounded.
  • To reduce discomfort, the surface of the sensors is wetted with gel or saline. If the child has not washed his head, it will be necessary to wipe the skin in order to degrease it.

EEG of the brain for a child is prescribed by a neuropathologist to diagnose and clarify vascular, organic diseases of the brain. The study is absolutely safe and can be carried out both for newborns, infants and older children. 

When is EEG shown to children?

The technique allows you to determine the state of the baby’s nervous system. It is based on the transmission of electrical impulses by neurons that create bioelectric activity in the brain. What is EEG for children? The electroencelograph displays the received information in the form of curved lines at different periods of activity. If the doctor sent the child for examination, you should not refuse to conduct the study. It is painless and at the same time quite informative for identifying pathologies of the brain of various nature.

The doctor prescribes an EEG for the child in the following cases:

  • with recurrent loss of consciousness;
  • if the child falls out of reality;
  • after a head injury of moderate severity;
  • at an epileptic clinic;
  • persistent sleep disorders;
  • with suspicion of oncological processes;
  • to control the rehabilitation process after a neurosurgical operation;
  • in case of congenital abnormalities (eg hydrocephalus);
  • with disorders of cerebral circulation;
  • in case of disorders in neurological status (infantile cerebral palsy, other movement disorders);
  • with autism spectrum disorders;
  • developmental delay, both in the mental and physical spheres.

Electroencephalography shows the localization of foci of epileptiform activity, the degree and dynamics of the disease, the effectiveness of the selected therapy. Therefore, the scope of its application is very wide.

Sometimes the doctor directs the child to an EEG even in the absence of certain somatic pathologies. Indications for its implementation are behavioral deviations, development inappropriate for age, poor memory and lack of concentration, hyperactivity. At school age, with excessively fast fatigue, an electroencephalogram of the brain for children can also be prescribed.

The method is widely used to diagnose epilepsy.

Are there any contraindications?

The study has no restrictions on its conduct. However, if there are wounds, scuffs, fresh stitches, or a rash on the scalp, it should be postponed until symptoms resolve.

How to prepare for the examination?

The research algorithm differs depending on the age of the child. The general rule is to wash your head on the eve of taking an electroencephalogram in order to remove sebum from its surface.

EEG for babies is often done mainly during sleep, so the chosen time for the study should coincide with the sleep schedule. Before the study, it is necessary to feed the baby.

If the baby’s age is older than a year, it is important to fulfill all the doctor’s requests. Parents must first have a conversation with children, preparing them psychologically for the session:

  • Children 2-3 years old can try to imagine the study in the form of an exciting journey, let them be superheroes.
  • A diligent child is recommended to take with him his favorite toy or book with pictures.
  • Teach your baby to open and close his eyes, while keeping his breathing even and not afraid.

If the child is prescribed to take medications, you cannot refuse them. The exception is situations when anticonvulsants are canceled 1-3 days before the examination at the request of the attending physician. Ask to postpone the study if it coincided with a respiratory illness accompanied by severe catarrhal symptoms (runny nose, cough).

The patient’s behavior during the session affects the information content of the data obtained, so take the preparation seriously.

Try to reduce the stress on the nervous system as much as possible on the eve of the examination. This applies not only to emotional overexcitement, but also to errors in nutrition. Do not give your child tonic drinks the day before. At the same time, two hours before the electroencephalography, it is better to feed him so that the child can better endure the study.

What is the research?

To conduct an EEG of the brain in children, a room is used that, if possible, does not allow light and sound to pass through. Before the examination, a special cap with sensors is put on the patient’s head, which transmit signals to the device ( electroencelograph ).

The duration of the session ranges from 30 minutes as part of a routine examination to multi-day video EEG monitoring as part of the pre-surgical diagnosis of epilepsy. The examination of children from one year old takes place in several stages:

  • Taking an encephalogram at rest. In this case, the child should be in a sitting or lying position.
  • Testing with eyes open and closed. This is done to determine the basic rhythm.
  • In the future, the examination technique will differ depending on the purpose of the study.
  • The test with hyperventilation consists in deep exhalation and inhalation in order to provoke pathological brain activity.
  • During a photo stimulation test, the light bulb flashes at regular intervals. The child at this moment is with his eyes closed.
  • Additionally, sound stimulation, clenching-unclenching of fists, psychological assessment can be carried out.
  • EEG recording of sleep (day, night) is also carried out.

The next step is to decipher the results in order to identify deviations from the norm and determine pathological processes.

Evaluation of results

The activity of brain cells is reflected on the display. This allows the doctor to print the data and decipher the readings more accurately. The data obtained greatly facilitate and accelerate the diagnosis of the patient.

Do not try to figure out the results of the encephalogram on your own. Each person has a different impulse speed, especially for children.

When making a diagnosis, the neuropathologist will also take into account the data of the child’s anamnesis, the results of additional studies.

Assessment of fluctuations

Based on the examination data, the brain rhythms are displayed on the encephalogram:

  • The main rhythm or alpha rhythm is recorded in the occipital regions.
  • Beta fluctuations are maximally determined in the frontal region.
  • Theta and delta rhythms are maximally recorded during the child’s sleep.

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