Making Waves with an EEG

EEG Strip Clip JI recently underwent another medical test known as an electroencephalogram (EEG) which is a noninvasive test used to evaluate brain function or disorders.

Electrodes were attached to my scalp with a special gel or paste. This made for a VERY BAD HAIR DAY… it took forever to get that goop out of my hair. These electrodes recorded my brain’s electrical activity and transmitted impulses to an electroencephalograph, which magnified them and recorded them as brain waves on moving strips of paper. I was asked to close my eyes and be still for most of the test, so it was a semi-rest period for me. However, it was hard to keep my eyes closed when I wanted to open them up to see what was going on.  A strobe light was used for a portion of the test, and it created interesting colors or spinning patterns while my eyes were closed.  Although most of the test was routine. Something of great note to me happened.

The young lady who was administering my EEG interviewed me about what kind of problems I have been having. When she asked me the inevitable “Where are you from” question, I let her try to guess and then asked her if she’d heard of Foreign Accent Syndrome. No, she had not heard of it. I further confounded her when I showed her that I could sing with my “real” voice.

When the test was almost done, this young lady who had so painstakingly wired me up to all these electrodes all over my scalp did something unique. She asked me to go ahead and sing a verse of “You Are My Sunshine” (the song I had sung to her before the test began) AND THEN to just speak the same words to that verse. As I heard myself singing and then saying the words my emotions got the better of me. Just as I said “please don’t take my sunshine away,” I began to bawl like a baby!!

I think part of the reason I was so emotional is that I really heard how drastic a difference there is between my real voice singing and then the foreign accented saying of the exact same words. However, I believe the biggest reason I cried was because I realized something.  This technician had really “heard” me. She noticed how much I believed that something could record the difference between the two modes and that I believed concretely that the singing and the speech are coming from two different places in my brain! I believe this may be the first time such a thing is recorded scientifically, in black and white, ink and paper, proven. Maybe history is being made.

This technician not only listened to what I had to say, but DID something about it. She recorded with the EEG the exact thing I had been talking about.  When I asked the lady if this was a normal part of the test she answered, “No, I just decided to do that because of what you had told and shown me.”  History — history was made.  Not only have I demonstrated via audio, or video, NOW they have EEG waves recorded of this interesting phenomena.

I can hardly wait to see my neurologist on July 1st to get the results. There is surely something recorded on that tape of brain waves to help us understand exactly what is going on in the brain. Now, we are getting somewhere, “making waves,”  and it feels good!

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