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  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: August 2009

18 - Quantitative electroencephalography and neurofeedback

Summary

Quantitative electroencephalography (qEEG) and neurofeedback have received substantial attention in recent years, as potential tools for the evaluation and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders. Each technique relies on the premise that electroencephalographic (EEG) specificity can serve as a marker for a particular neurodevelopmental disorder or syndrome, or as a marker of specific cognitive deficits associated with neurological and neuropsychological disorders. This chapter presents a critical review of the relevant literature that applies qEEG and neurofeedback to pediatric disorders. Prior to a review of this literature, a brief discussion of the technology is in order.

Quantitative EEG

Quantitative EEG (qEEG) is a method of analyzing electrical activity of the brain and drawing comparisons between an individual and representative population. It involves the application of mathematical formulas and algorithms to traditional EEG, in order to derive quantitative patterns that correspond to diagnostic information and/or cognitive deficits. Patterns can be based on topographical organization (i.e. the location of specific patterns plotted on the surface of the scalp), amplitude, or spectral analysis (i.e. the presence of specific frequencies of EEG, either in isolation or in ratio to other frequencies). As these factors are influenced by the recording techniques utilized, some attention must be paid to basic electrophysiology and methods for acquiring information about cortical activity, in order to appreciate the issues inherent in qEEG research.

Information about the behavior of neural pathways can provide valuable insight into the functioning of an organism. Cortical activity has been identified as one means for gaining such insight.

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