The History of Neurodiagnostics

What is Neurodiagnostics?

Neurodiagnostics is recording electrical activity in the brain, central nervous system, and peripheral nervous system. Evaluating the nervous system’s electrical activity can aid in diagnosing and treating common neurological issues such as epilepsy, migraines, head, and spinal injuries, seizures, sleep disorders, and strokes. 

History of Neurodiagnostics

Hans Berger, a German psychiatrist, recorded the first findings of electrical activity in the brain. Berger’s original intent was to discover a basis for psychological phenomena but instead stumbled on the electroencephalogram (EEG). This non-invasive neurodiagnostic procedure detects electrical activity in the brain with small, metal discs called electrodes that connect to your scalp. 

After extensive research and demonstrated EEG findings in children, epilepsy, coma, brain pathology, sleep, and normal populations, EEGs were being widely performed across different healthcare facilities by the 1950s. With advanced digital capabilities, EEGs have replaced analog, paper recordings. 

In 1947, evoked potentials (EPs) were introduced and widely researched during the 1960s. An evoked potential is a stimulus-response recorded from a specific part of the nervous system. Throughout the 1960s, EPs helped diagnose people with multiple sclerosis by evaluating brain stem functions and spinal cord sensory pathways. Today, EPs are used in intraoperative neuromonitoring. 

In 1959, the American Electroencephalographic Society (AAEGS) established a subsidiary professional group called the American Society of Electroencephalographic Technicians (ASET), which was made up of EEG technicians who were members of AAEGS. Since the first organizational meeting, AAEGS and ASET have grown exponentially. In 2011, AAEGS legally changed its name to the Neurodiagnostic Society. They continue to host events and provide leadership, advocacy, and resources that promote professional excellence, patient safety, and quality care in neurodiagnostics. 

Neurodiagnostic Technologist 

A neurodiagnostic technologist performs a series of tests to diagnose brain and nervous system issues and sleep disorders. Testing procedures use advanced digital equipment that provides doctors with valuable data to diagnose and treat patients with various neurological problems. Neurodiagnostic technologists are also responsible for maintaining equipment and ensuring patient safety.

EEG is the most frequently performed procedure by a neurodiagnostic technologist, but some others include: 

  • Long-term Monitoring 

Records EEG over extended periods 

  • Magnetoencephalography

Records magnetic fields in the brain

  • Intraoperative Neuromonitoring

Tracks nerve and brain function during surgery

  • The Polysomnogram

Diagnoses sleep disorders

To become a neurodiagnostic technologist, you’re required to complete a 2-year associate’s degree before taking a certification exam with either the Nerve Conduction Association (AAET), American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine (ABEM), ABRET Neurodiagnostic Credentialing and Accreditation, or Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT). 

Neurodiagnostics at SpecialtyCare

The members of SpecialtyCare’s Neurosurgical and Neurodiagnostic Services division support nearly 110,000 procedures annually. This market-leading volume means that our clinicians provide exceptional quality and trusted experience when it matters most.  Our unmatched expertise and consistent, exceptional performance enable surgeons to achieve optimal treatment results for their patients.