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Brain Mapping - Technique, Benefits, and Tools

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Brain mapping provides information regarding how the brain works coordinately. Read the article below to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Abhishek Juneja

Published At February 7, 2023
Reviewed AtJuly 12, 2023

Introduction

Brain mapping is a method to illustrate how different parts of the brain are interconnected and how they work in a coordinated manner. Multiple methods exist to produce a visual brain map, including invasive and non-invasive methods. The data obtained is a short-term window of brain activity but can indicate the type of brain activity, including the type of brain waves, location, and abnormalities.

There are four major types of brain waves.

  • Alpha Brain Wave - They are found when there is a decreased level of attention, eyes are closed, and the mind wanders. They are located in the parietal and occipital lobes of the brain. Their frequency ranges between eight to thirteen cycles per second.

  • Beta Brain Wave - They are found when there is increased attention, mental concentration, and sensory stimulation. They are located in the frontal and parietal lobes of the brain. Their frequency ranges between thirteen to thirty cycles per second.

  • Delta Brain Wave - They are physiologically present and are found during deep sleep. If seen during wakefulness, it indicates brain dysfunction. They have maximum amplitude and minimum frequency, approximately two to three cycles per second. Although they never become zero as it would indicate brain death.

  • Theta Brain Wave - They are found during meditation, prayer, and spiritual awareness. They are located in the parietal and temporal lobes of the brain. Their frequency ranges between four to seven cycles per second.

Each of these brain waves allows for analysis to be completed and if any abnormalities are found associated with major functions of the brain such as cognitive thinking, processing of memories, and emotions. For example, abnormalities or dysfunction may indicate areas with neuron signals too high or too low, which will require further analysis for any kind of brain injury, psychiatric or cognitive conditions, or extreme stress.

What Is a Brain Mapping Test?

Brain mapping test is usually a non-invasive test. It involves a special cap on the patient's head, specifically touching the scalp. The cap is placed for approximately half an hour, recording all the electrical impulses through tiny sensors at different brain parts. There are tiny holes in the cap on which the gel is applied, and the patient might feel cool at the points where the gel is applied. The cap is attached to the electroencephalogram via wires, and the brain waves will be recorded and displayed on the screen.

The patient is asked to sit in a relaxed manner and avoid any kind of movement or excessive swallowing and minimize any kind of muscle tension as far as possible. The test is done in two stages. First, the patient is asked to keep their eyes open for five minutes and closed for five minutes. The resulting data reflects the brainwaves or Berger waves from various brain parts and are used to create a visual brain map. It is also known as a quantitative electroencephalogram (qEEG).

What Are the Results Obtained From a Brain Mapping Test?

The result provides an analysis of each lobe of the brain involving frontal, parietal, central, temporal, and occipital and demonstrates each brainwave.

The result obtained from a brain mapping test is

  • Yellow - It indicates extremely elevated levels of neuronal activity.

  • Red - It indicates elevated levels of neuronal activity.

  • Green - It indicates normal levels of neuronal activity.

  • Blue - It indicates low levels of neuronal activity.

  • Purple - It indicates very low levels of neuronal activity.

What Are the Benefits of Brain Mapping?

The benefits of brain mapping include:

  • It can provide well-detailed information about the physical structure of the patient's brain. This will help differentiate various brain structures, including the primary motor cortex and prefrontal cortex, and further guide the abnormalities if any are present.

  • It also helps in identifying any reasons for physiological or psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, or other mental conditions.

  • It helps develop targeted treatment protocols that are difficult to diagnose and manage. In addition, it specifically provides information regarding the areas causing the symptoms, hence has a targeted approach.

  • It also provides information regarding how the brain works coordinately. A proper understanding of the connectivity of the brain can be highly beneficial for managing a wide variety of disorders.

  • It also helps in understanding the anatomy of the brain.

What Are the Tools Used in Brain Mapping?

Tools used in brain mapping are:

  • Diffusion Tensor MRI (DTI) - It helps to identify the brain's location, orientation, and anisotropy.

  • Electroencephalography (EGG) - It helps to detect the electrical activity of the active nerve of the cell.

  • Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) - It is a diagnostic test that produces an image of the cross-section of the body.

  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) - It is a type of brain stimulation that applies magnetic pulses to the brain through a coil.

  • Pharmacological Functional MRI (phMRI) - It is a method to demonstrate brain activity as drugs are administered.

  • High-Definition Fiber Tracking - It demonstrates the detailed wiring of a person's brain fiber.

  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) - It is a type of nuclear imaging that estimates the metabolic activity of the brain.

  • Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - It is a method used to measure the neuronal activity associated with blood flow.

  • Magnetoencephalography (MEG) - It is a non-invasive method to quantify the magnetic fields produced by the neuronal activity of the brain.

Conclusion

Brain mapping is a non-invasive test that helps to differentiate various structures in the brain, including the primary motor cortex and prefrontal cortex, and further guides the abnormalities, if any are present. The resulting data reflects the brainwaves or Berger waves from various brain parts and are used to create a visual brain map. It not only identifies the symptoms but the cause associated with them. It also helps develop targeted treatment protocols that are difficult to diagnose and manage. It is a revolutionary new diagnostic tool to precisely identify the areas involving brain dysfunction.

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Dr. Abhishek Juneja
Dr. Abhishek Juneja

Neurology

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