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BrainWaves #169 The interictal EEG

MedLink Neurology Podcast is delighted to feature selected episodes from BrainWaves, courtesy of James E Siegler MD, its originator and host. BrainWaves is an academic audio podcast whose mission is to educate medical providers through clinical cases and topical reviews in neurology, medicine, and the humanities, and episodes originally aired from 2016 to 2021.

Originally released: August 6, 2020

The electroencephalogram is a nearly 100-year-old neurodiagnostic instrument. And yet, we learn new things from it every day. This week on the BrainWaves podcast, Dr. Tracey Milligan (Mass General Brigham) reviews the indications and utilization of a routine scalp EEG. Also discussed: limitations of scalp EEG, brain surgery, nonepileptic events, and why you should consider becoming an epileptologist.

Produced by James E Siegler and Tracey Milligan. Music courtesy of Steve Combs, Lee Roosevere, Siddhartha, Soft and Furious, Patches, and Magic in the Other. The opening theme was composed by Jimothy Dalton. Sound effects by Mike Koenig and Daniel Simion. Unless otherwise mentioned in the podcast, no competing financial interests exist in the content of this episode. James Siegler reports having received consulting fees from Ceribell, which produces a bedside scalp EEG with automated seizure detection. However, there is no specific reference to this device or company, nor was this episode sponsored by Ceribell. BrainWaves' podcasts and online content are intended for medical education only and should not be used for clinical decision-making. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @brainwavesaudio for the latest updates to the podcast.


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Cascino GD. Clinical indications and diagnostic yield of video-electroencephalographic monitoring in patients with seizures and spells. Mayo Clin Proc 2002;77(10):1111-20. PMID 12374255

Debicki DB. Electroencephalography after a single unprovoked seizure. Seizure 2017;49:69-73. PMID 28532713

Pillai J, Sperling MR. Interictal EEG and the diagnosis of epilepsy. Epilepsia 2006;47 Suppl 1:14-22. PMID 17044820

Wiebe S, Blume WT, Girvin JP, Eliasziw M; Effectiveness and Efficiency of Surgery for Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Study Group. A randomized, controlled trial of surgery for temporal-lobe epilepsy. N Engl J Med 2001;345(5):311-8. PMID 11484687

We believe that the principles expressed or implied in the podcast remain valid, but certain details may be superseded by evolving knowledge since the episode’s original release date.

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