This is the first and most important tool for evaluating epilepsy. EEG detects the brain’s natural electrical activity and helps specially trained physicians (neurologists) diagnose and classify epilepsy. When combined with video monitoring in a special hospital unit devoted to epilepsy evaluation, EEG can help neurologists determine what part of the patient’s brain is responsible for their seizures. Other neuroimaging techniques including MRI, PET and SPECT studies can also be used.
Neuropsychologists are doctors of psychology who study the relationship between human behavior and brain function. Detailed written and oral testing by a neuropsychologist can help determine how well various regions of an epilepsy patient’s brain are working. The testing usually focuses on language and memory abilities. Sometimes this information can help to localize the origin of someone’s seizures. More often, however, it provides an estimate of how well an epilepsy patient will be able to function after epilepsy surgery.