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November 2, 1994

The Electroencephalogram: Its Patterns and Origins

Author Affiliations

Wilmette, Ill
Salt Lake City, Utah

JAMA. 1994;272(17):1326-1327. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520170036026

To the Editor.  —When Dr Riley reviewed Barlow's new book in JAMA,1 he took it for granted that electroencephalograms (EEGs) and, in particular, the visual interpretation of EEG patterns were passe. He wrote, "I have often scoffed at the old Gibbsian fascination with the shape of the waves on paper. Although impressed with Barlow's studies and models, I wonder whether they are not just a richer preoccupation with the same waves that misled Gibbs." That Riley could scoff so publicly at nearly half a century of extensive medical research, research conducted by hundreds of sincere scientists, utilized by thousands of clinicians, and recognized by specialty boards, and suggest that all these people were misled is an example of the extent to which medicine can sometimes be so caught up in technological and political competitiveness that practical and good medicine ends up being lost in the process.Would Riley also

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