Allied Psychophysiology
Lee Porter, MSN, NP, CNS
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Mindfulness and Neuroscience

software interface for digital 19-lead EEG systemQEEG-guided Neurofeedback - the Quality Difference

QEEG is the abbreviation for quantitative electroencephalogram and is commonly referred to as a "brain map". The QEEG is derived by digitally and statistically analyzing a standardized 19-channel EEG. The data obtained by the QEEG process is statistically compared to a database of individuals of the same age. The QEEG is the accepted standard of care for planning neurofeedback treatment. The QEEG can also be used as an adjunct diagnostic tool and to assist with selection of medications.

Allied Psychophysiology offers QEEG data collection and interpretation services, including access to internationally renowned QEEG experts in neurology and neuropsychology for consultation. All Allied Psychophysiology QEEGs are collected, analyzed and read by board certified and licensed professionals.

What is the QEEG Difference?

The goal of neurofeedback is to normalize the patient's brain waves and improve patient functioning. Current standards of care recommend a QEEG as a prerequisite to neurofeedback treatment to establish baseline brain function and to identify regions with abnormal brain wave frequencies. Recent research supporting the efficacy of neurofeedback is based on QEEG measured goals and results.  Neurofeedback without QEEG may lead to unnecessary and imprecise treatment and may have less favorable results. Neurofeedback without QEEG relies on guesswork and has no basis in the currently accepted clinical standards and guidelines.

Why don’t all practitioners use QEEG-guided neurotherapy?

Not all neurofeedback practitioners have been trained in QEEG and neurotherapy. A significant amount of hands-on experience and very specialized training is necessary to learn this complex technology. Not only is it technologically intensive, the QEEG equipment is an expensive enhancement to a neurofeedback practice.

If QEEG equipment is expensive, will my therapy cost more using QEEG guided neurofeedback?

Generally not, as the overall time to reach goals is reduced and effectiveness of training increased using QEEG, thus saving time and money for the client and improving overall outcomes.

What is it like to get a QEEG?

The QEEG is a painless and safe procedure, routinely done in the office. To obtain data for the QEEG, patients wear a specialized, tight fitting cap that contains sensors that record the brain wave activity. The sensors are passive - they "listen" but do not send any electricity into the scalp or brain. Unlike other functional neuro-imaging techniques, QEEG is completely non-invasive. Unlike other functional brain imaging techniques, QEEG does not require the injection of radioactive dye as is the case with fMRI, PET or SPECT. A QEEG typically takes one to two hours to collect. Most of the time is spent prepping the patient. A careful process is used to ensure that each sensor obtains a high quality signal and that the placement of the EEG cap is precise. During the data recording, the patient must be able to sit still to avoid contamination of the EEG signal with muscle movements. After the data is recorded, the patient can resume all normal activities.  The EEG data is subsequently digitally and statistically processed and analyzed.

Can I take my medicine when getting a QEEG?

Some medications or supplements affect the QEEG. Depending on the medication or supplements taken, a taper or discontinuation of medication may be recommended prior to the test.  A consultation is done prior to the QEEG.

Can I see the results of the QEEG immediately?

Although a basic, general impression of the EEG can be provided immediately following the procedure, valid neurometric results are obtained only after a subsequent computer-based analysis that involves artifact removal and statistical analysis. The patient is scheduled for a follow up appointment to go over the results. 

Technical references:

John ER, Prichep LS, Friedman J, Easton P. Neurometrics: Computer assisted differential diagnosis of brain dysfunctions. Science 1988; 293:162-169.

John ER, Prichep LS, Kox W et al. Invariant reversible QEEG effects of anesthetics. Consciousness and Cognition 2001; 10:165-183.

Hughes JR, John ER. Conventional and quantitative electroencephalography in psychiatry. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci 1999; 11, 190-208.

Prichep LS, John ER, Ferris HS, Reisberg B, Alper KR, Cancro R. Quantitative EEG correlates of cognitive deterioration in the elderly. Neurobiology Aging 1994; 15(1):85-90.
Prichep LS, Reisberg B, Ferris HS, Tom M, Fang Z, Rausch L, Cancro R, John ER. Prediction of longitudinal cognitive decline in normal elderly with subjective complaints using electrophysiological imaging. Neurobiol. of Aging, 2006;27(3):471-81.

Kondacs A, Szabo M. Long-term intra-individual variability of the background EEG in normals. Clinical Neurophysiology 1999; 110, 1708-1716.

Coburn KA, et al. The value of Quantitative Electroencephalography in Clinical Psychiatry. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 2006; 18, 460-500.

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