Clinical Application of qEEG

De klinische waarde van het qEEG


EEG reflects the real-time functioning of brain synapses. EEG oscillatory signals recorded at the level of the scalp are mainly due to a sum of excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic potentials generated by bundles of pyramidal neurons in the grey matter of the brain. Pyramidal cells are spatially aligned and perpendicular to the cortical surface, generating the current that can be recorded by EEG as scalp potentials.

Routine EEG recordings in the clinical setting are generally subjected to visual assessment and analysis, which is crucial for the investigation of certain neurophysiological phenomena such as epilepsy.


Objective and reproducible investigation of complex EEG signals requires quantitative or automated EEG analysis. qEEG analysis provides multi-perspective information about the EEG signal such as frequency components (spectral analysis), dynamic changes (temporal analysis) and spatial estimates of cortical sources (3D source analysis). In addition, qEEG provides reliable and quantifiable (numerical) results that can be further used in association and correlation studies.

The value of qEEG as a clinical application

qEEG has been used clinically in Belgium for over 30 years, both in Neurology and Psychiatry, and can not only boast extensive clinical experience but is also based on a technical study that can achieve high sensitivity with high specificity and has good reproducibility for different qEEG analysis methods. It can also demonstrate good to very good reproducibility. Despite this scientifically supported basis, controversy still exists, mainly from neurology, around the clinical value of qEEG. However, this is based on erroneous assumptions with some positions not scientifically supported, based on missing information and selective attention.

There are concerns about standards for test-retest reliability, normal variation, quality control by eliminating artefacts, quality control by eliminating statistical spurious effects, etc. However, these are issues that concern all medical, as well as scientific, test results that are part of the daily routine of the relevant specialist and have been sufficiently scientifically highlighted and can be avoided.

Finally, the qEEG, like any other technical examination, cannot be used as a stand-alone diagnostic tool. The qEEG is a tool to provide additional insight needed to obtain objective information in combination with other diagnostic-oriented evaluations to form a clinical opinion together with a history or to arrive at a most likely clinical diagnosis.


Author: Daniel Dumalin | Date: 21/09/2020 | Last update: 27/08/2023