Quantitative EEG (qEEG) is frequently called a “brain map.” An expansion of the traditional EEG, the qEEG provides in-depth information about brain functioning that is not available from any other method of measuring brain activity. It really is fascinating! A non-invasive, relatively simple procedure that can be performed on children, adolescents, and adults, the technique involves placing a nylon cap, much like a shower cap, on the head. This cap contains 19 sensors that record the electrical activity at different sites around the brain. A small amount of conductive gel is placed on each sensor. (The gel is easily rinsed from the hair after testing.) Once the cap is in place, the individual is asked to sit with his/her eyes closed and then opened. They may also be asked to read and work several simple math problems. This allows us to measure brain activity in response to different conditions, or levels of activation, because an individual’s problems may not be evident until the brain attempts certain tasks. The whole recording procedure can take anywhere from one to two hours. Once the data has been recorded, it undergoes visual and computerized inspections to remove any artifacts (non-brainwave activity) such as eye movements or muscle tension. The EEG is then processed by a computer using mathematical signal analyses and the results are compared to a normative database. These analyses are what set the qEEG apart, often revealing patterns not apparent in the traditional EEG. The qEEG allows us to analyze and display the individual’s EEG information in a variety of ways. Each display provides useful information about the individual’s brainwave activity. We can determine the person’s dominant resting brainwave frequency, how their brain responds to activation, if they have too much or too little of a particular brainwave frequency under certain conditions, and how well the different areas of the brain are coordinating their activity – or communicating – with one another. All of this information can be used to identify patterns associated with mood disorders, attention difficulties, anxiety, and head injuries, as well as many other functional problems. The quantitative EEG allows us to see what each person’s specific brainwave challenges are, and subsequently, tailor a therapy to meet their unique needs. In addition, sometimes the information from the qEEG can help predict the effectiveness of certain medications, providing a way to choose medications based on an individual’s personal physiological profile rather than for a general diagnostic label. Quantitative analysis of the EEG provides an enormous amount of information with a wide range of applications; however, the qEEG is not a substitute for or interchangeable with the traditional EEG. Therefore, each person’s raw EEG is sent to a certified clinical electroencephalographer (M.D.) to be reviewed for any medical abnormalities. Interestingly, up to 10-15% of children exhibiting symptoms of ADD have undiagnosed seizure activity, which traditional stimulant therapy could worsen! The medical review can help prevent this. Most of the time, having a qEEG is not a pre-requisite for beginning neurofeedback training (although it is highly recommended). If a seizure disorder or head injury is suspected, however, we may require you to have a qEEG brain map before challenging your brain with neurofeedback. Most people are intrigued by the opportunity to learn so much about the inner workings of their brain. The information obtained can certainly guide the neurofeedback process and in some cases may reduce the ultimate number of training sessions.