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What is an EEG (electroencephalogram)?

An EEG (electroencephalogram) is a noninvasive, painless test that detects abnormal electrical activity in the brain. An EEG involves attaching electrodes to your scalp to record electrical impulses in the form of waves. Doctors use EEGs to diagnose or evaluate brain disorders and conditions, such as seizures, head injury, behavior changes, and sleep disorders. 

An EEG is only one method your doctor can use to diagnose or evaluate brain disorders and conditions. Discuss all your testing options with your doctor to understand which tests are right for you.  

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Oct 8, 2012

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Medical References

EEG (Electroencephalogram). KidsHealth from Nemours. http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sick/eeg.html. Accessed May 2, 2013.
EEG (Electroencephalogram). Marquette General Health System. http://www.mgh.org/education/health/eeg.pdf. Accessed May 2, 2013.
EEG. Epilepsy Foundation. http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/aboutepilepsy/Diagnosis/examandtests/eeg.cfm. Accessed May 2, 2013.
Electroencephalogram (EEG). Johns Hopkins Medicine. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/neurological/electroencephalogram_eeg_92,P07655/. Accessed May 2, 2013.
Electroencephalograms (EEG). Children’s Hospital of Boston. http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site829/mainpageS829P0.html. Accessed May 2, 2013.

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