Things You Didn’t Know About EEG Studies

Many people have, at some point in time, either participated in an EEG study or considered participating in an EEG study. EEG, meaning electroencephalogram, is the term given to an image that captures the electrical neural activity of the brain, which can then explain things in clinical research like depression, mood disorders, epilepsy studies, and sleep disorders. These EEG studies can be either paid or volunteer, but you will always show up in the medical journals and reports that follow the EEG study as an anonymous participant. Whether or not you are thinking about participating in an EEG study to make some extra cash or to genuinely get some questions answered about your health, here are some things you may not have known about EEG studies.

One: Stash all phones. Clinical research organizations in USA will not allow the use of your mobile phone or other electronics during the study. Unfortunately, this means you can’t browse Facebook, catch up on emails, or live Tweet your EEG study experience, but it is a good thing if you want accurate results from your trial. This is because our electronics act as an intruder in the electrical fields that scientists study during their EEG experiments.

Two: The study is not too hard, but the prerequisites are. As you may have guessed, the EEG study is a little more than walking into a clinic and getting your brain studied. Before you can participate, you are required to watch a series of videos, and then answer an assessment that has around one hundred questions. After this, your scientist is going to want you to stare, unmoving, at a small fixated point, usually a cross or a dot, for almost ten minutes with looking away. This is so the researcher can have an idea of what your brain’s activity is like at rest, also known as a baseline.

Three: Southpaws are unwelcome. No, scientists are not discriminating against us lefties, but our brains genuinely function too differently from right handers to be involved in the study. This is because the science of neuroimaging is too strongly based in righthandedness, meaning that the study consists too much of data collected from right handers. It would be difficult to conglomerate data from righties and lefties. To combat this, scientists study EEG activity in righties and lefties separately. And, since we only make up for a tenth of the population, there is rarely a recruiting pool out there for lefties. Poor us.

Four: These clinical trials are going to get you messy. Your scalp with be coated with a slimy, green jelly that is loaded with salt, since it acts as a good conductor for the electrical signals passing from your brain to the electrodes. The sensation of having the gel injected and applied is a cross between a massage and gentle hair pulling. Hopefully, the greatest challenge you experience in this study is washing the green goop out of your locks afterwards.

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