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October 1989

Uses and Abuses of Brain Mapping

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology and Reed Neurological Research Center, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, Calif.

Arch Neurol. 1989;46(10):1134-1136. doi:10.1001/archneur.1989.00520460130026

Brain mapping is a term now often applied to specific computer-based electroencephalographic (EEG) techniques, especially EEG and evoked potential topographic mapping and frequency analysis. Several types of color displays are available. Patient EEG data can be compared digitally to a normative database. About a dozen vendors offer commercial equipment to perform such tests, and between 300 and 500 units are in use in the United States.

The reading of routine EEGs has required substantial training and experience. Color-coded EEG topographic maps might present EEG information in a more understandable way, especially for persons unfamiliar with interpreting routine EEGs. Unfortunately, a substantial number of technical and clinical problems interfere with such a simple clinical application.1 These problems can easily mislead interpretations, sometimes in subtle ways. References are often active. Traditional EEG artifacts can appear in unusual and surprising ways, and new artifacts can be caused by the processing

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