Scientists in Canada, Germany and Iran have discovered a new way to monitor brainwaves associated with epilepsy in a non-invasive way. This discovery could improve the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy. The work is published in the scientific journal, Neuroscience.First Author Zoya Bastany, a masters student at the University of British Columbia, comments: “Using this method, we found that the electrical signals acquired from the skin of the scalp were very similar to those acquired from the surface of the brain.”According to the authors, the new approach, called amplified electroencephalogram (EEG), can produce results comparable to the current, more invasive, method whereby electrodes are directly placed on the surface of the brain. The key to this is the use of a specially-designed amplifier alongside the EEG recorder.The amplifier, designed by Bastany and colleagues, detects signals in a much broader frequency range than standard clinical EEG systems. The researchers confirmed the accuracy of their new system by comparing brain and scalp recordings in anesthetised rodents.According to Professor Guy Dumont, Co-author on the study, “The new method opens up uses for EEGs in studying cortical spreading depression in a non-invasive manner and without a significant increase in diagnostic costs compared to standard EEG.”Cortical spreading depression is a low-frequency brainwave characteristic of epilepsy, and also migraines, and it is currently best studied by placing electrodes directly on the surface of the brain. However, this is a highly invasive and uncomfortable technique.Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here for more articles about brain science including genetics.