Question: Abnormal EEG

F. Frank LeFever flefever at
Mon Mar 10 22:54:41 EST 1997

In <fiona.wilkes-1103971029330001 at>
fiona.wilkes at (Fiona Wilkes) writes: 
>Knowing little about EEG reports, I was wondering if someone could
>suggestions as to what the following could indicate :
>-Post central 9-11CPS alpha of high amplitude occuring in well
>spindles over both hemispheres and blocks in visual attention.
>-Low voltage background fast activity during resting record.
>-During resting record and more so on overbreathing, episodic bursts
>bilateral high voltage 3-4CPS slow wave activity coming more
>from the left hemisphere
>-Photic stimulation evokes no change.
>The owner of this EEG has a history of "blackouts", not always losing
>consciousness. No drug or alcohol abuse and a normal CT.
>What do you think?

FIRST: I am not a neurologist, so don't take this as expert opinion;
but isn't 3-4Hz associated with "absence" (pronounce it as French...),
i.e. petit mal?  One would expect only very brief interruptions (e.g. a
few seconds at a time), typically, but I have read of "absence status",
in which a confused or dull state might last much longer (e.g.
days)--indeed, I think I once tested such a patient.

Rather than name it (and possibly mis-name; or mislead us, according to
our idiosyncratic expectations and assumptions), describe it: what do
you mean by "blackouts"?  As used in the context of alcoholism, this
refers to a person's moving and acting as if conscious, but having no
memory of what he did.

Frank LeFever
New York Neuropsychology Group

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