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Diagnostic Testing

In addition to blood tests and tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scanning, we employ the most advanced electrodiagnostic testing to evaluate brain function and pinpoint the location of seizures in the brain. These tests, conducted by specially trained technologists in our Neurophysiology Laboratory, include:

  • Electroencephalography (EEG or "brain wave test"), an examination of spontaneous brain activity. We offer ambulatory EEG testing, in which the patient wears an EEG recorder that is slightly larger than a portable cassette player and collects up to 24 hours of brain activity while the patient goes through his or her regular daily activities, permitting examination of brain activity throughout the patient's day.
  • Video-EEG monitoring, which has emerged as the "gold standard" for the diagnosis of complex seizure disorders. The procedure requires a stay in the hospital for four to five days. During video-EEG monitoring, the patient wears an EEG transmitter connected to a wall outlet by a cable. He or she can move about and carry out normal activities, such as talking, reading, and watching television. Ceiling-mounted video cameras continuously record the patient's behavior. The EEG and video signals are synchronized and displayed simultaneously for observation by a physician. Inpatient monitoring also allows for observation of the patient during a full night's sleep, increasing the possibility of recording epileptic activity and other nighttime events. Data generated by this test improve diagnostic certainty and are very helpful in making treatment decisions, including the choice of the right antiseizure medication. 
  • Intracranial monitoring for patients who may benefit from epilepsy surgery. Through a small operation, EEG electrodes (called "intracranial monitoring devices") can be placed on the surface lining the brain, or even deeper in the brain. Using video-EEG recording, we can record multiple seizures. By having seizure-recording devices much closer to the source, we can more precisely locate where seizures begin. 
  • Neuropsychological testing, which looks for areas of strength and weakness in language, memory, and concentration, as well as motor, visual-spatial, and other skills. We combine the information from neuropsychological testing with the results of other tests to develop the best treatment for each patient.

Weill Cornell Medicine Neurology 520 East 70th Street (at York Avenue) Starr Pavilion 607 New York, NY 10021 Phone: (212) 746-2596