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Pioneers of the EEG

Pioneers of the EEG

The Electroencaphalogram: A crucial and clinically useful invention

The electroencephalogram, or EEG, measures electrical activity in the brain and as such is an excellent tool to investigate brain function, but more importantly, also has many clinical applications such as in the diagnosis of epilepsy or sleep disorders and the treatment of ADHD. Many recent studies also implicate an important role for the EEG in Personalized Medicine or Precision Psychiatry where we recently discovered the EEG is very useful in predicting the efficacy of certain medications used in the treatment of depression.
It is difficult to imagine a world where the electroencephalogram does not exist. The EEG certainly contributed greatly to our knowledge of the brain and its workings, and although the spatial resolution of an EEG is not as precise as we would like it to be, the technique does enable us to detect millisecond-to-millisecond changes in our brain and as such it offers an almost real-time view of the brain’s electrical activity. There is no other tool that even comes close in achieving that.

Below you will find a series of short peer-reviewed videos documenting the history of the EEG and the pioneers that were instrumental in the discovery of the EEG and its applications. These materials can be used freely for educational and scientific purposes according to the CC-BYNC-SA-4.0 open-acces license (for commercial usage please contact us), so feel free to spice-up your COVID-19 online lectures or embed in your website!

   EPISODE 1

The discovery of the electrical brain and the EEG

Who were the pioneers? This short video introduces no less than seven scientists, from Richard Caton, who is credited with projecting the first EEG on a wall, using a string galvanometer, and Adolf Beck, via Vladimir Pravdich Neminsky who developed the first printed EEG, Hans Berger (first EEG of a human brain), Edgar Douglas Adrian to Herbert Jasper and Alfred Lee Loomis, the eccentric millionaire/scientist.
This first episode of our new series has been reviewed by Prof. A.M.L. Coenen.
Produced and presented by Brainclinics Insights.

   EPISODE 2

Richard Caton: the first ever EEG

Inventing the EEG seems almost a footnote in his life

In this short video we meet Richard Caton, who is credited with inventing the first EEG in 1874, publishing about it in 1875. In his lifetime he held many offices, and published on very diverse subjects, ranging from ancient greek culture to intestinal antisepsis, acromegaly, rheumatic endocarditis, cardiac dilatation and hypertrophy. He was also a founding-member of the Physiological Society and became Lord mayor of Liverpool in 1907.

This episode of our series has been peer-reviewed by Prof. A.M.L. Coenen.
Produced and presented by Brainclinics Insights.

   EPISODE 3

Coming soon

Watch this space

All our educational videos are independently peer reviewed.

Further reading

The history of the EEG and the beginnings of Neurofeedback are discussed in great, and often uniquely amusing detail in the book Neurofeedback: how it all started, by Martijn Arns and (dare we say the legendary) Maurice B. Sterman. Told, almost, from an insiders perspective, the book takes us on a journey through time and place, and we visit Richard Caton in 19th century England, Vladimir Pravdich Neminsky in pre-revolutionary Kiev, and Hans Berger in Jena in the early 1900s.
When we cross the Atlantic Ocean we learn more about enigmatic figures like Alfred Lee Loomis, Joe Kamiya and Jay Gunkelman, and their groundbreaking work in the field of conditioning.