A Quick Introduction to Clinical Neurophysiology for Patients and Doctors

Clinical Neurophysiology is a branch of medicine concerned with diagnosis and monitoring of disease by measurement of the electrical activity of the brain, the spinal cord, nerves and muscles. It is also called Electrodiagnostics (EDX) by some rheumatologists and Electrophysiology, mainly by ophthalmologists. The methods used fall into three groups: Electroencephalography (EEG), Electromyography (EMG) and Evoked Potentials (EP)

  • The electroencephalogram is a recording of the electrical activity of the brain - often called "brain waves" in the media.
  • The electromyogram is, strictly speaking, a recording of electrical activity of muscle, but is also used to refer to studies on nerves.(Nerve conduction studies or NCS)
  • Evoked Potentials are recordings of the changes in nervous system activity in response to external stimuli, for instance clicks or flashing lights

For a more detailed explanation, see the What is Clinical Neurophysiology section.