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October 1989

Clinical Value of Topographic Mapping and Quantified Neurophysiology

Author Affiliations

From the BEAM Laboratory/Seizure Unit, Children's Hospital, Boston, Mass.

Arch Neurol. 1989;46(10):1133-1134. doi:10.1001/archneur.1989.00520460129025

Clinical neurophysiology is undergoing a metamorphosis. Knowledgeable neuroscientists, however, question whether the outcome will be merely evanescent, as a colorful butterfly, or a lasting and valuable advancement. Recent change, manifested by the profusion of commercial color topographic mapping devices and, more substantively, by a small number of sophisticated mapping systems, has been spurred by modern signal analytic and statistical techniques in clinical diagnosis, electroencephalography (EEG), and long-latency evoked potentials (EPs). These changes are the byproduct of ever-increasing power of microcomputers at ever-decreasing costs. High-speed data processors with megabytes of memory, gigabytes of storage, and superb color graphics make possible the analysis of the voluminous data recorded from the human scalp. This emerging discipline is often referred to as quantified EEG or topographic mapping. We prefer the global term "quantified neurophysiology" (qNP), since these analytic techniques apply equally to long-latency EP and EEG data.

As the "average" neurologist attempts to determine

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