Reducing stress

Using technology developed for military applications, QinetiQ has developed demonstration software for processing EEG (electroencephalogram) recordings.

Despite the presence of unwanted noise and interference, it provides clear signals from brain activity not attainable by any other conventional means. Analysis time is reduced and there is less stress to patients. The system has been developed with Worcestershire Royal Hospital and successfully tested on a wide range of hospital patient data.

EEGs are used to detect brain disorders such as epilepsy, brain tumours, mental retardation, brain injuries and drug overdose. EEG recordings detect, analyse and localise brain dysfunction through electrodes attached to the scalp. They detect a weak variation in the electromagnetic field produced by small electric currents emitted from the brain.

However, EEG recordings are susceptible to severe corruption from unwanted electrical interference. This may be caused by eye movement, blinking, grinding of teeth, other muscle or body movement, or by external electrical interference. Because of this susceptibility, it is common practice to make long recordings for manual inspection and discard corrupted or unusable portions. This all takes a long time and gives rise to increased stress for patients.

QinetiQ’s EEG processing system works by applying advanced digital signal processing techniques to the automatic separation and recognition of different constituents of EEG data.

Unwanted noise and interference is separated out and suppressed to reveal previously obscured detailed brain activity. The resulting EEG recordings are easier to read and take less time to analyse, which in turn means much less patient stress.

QinetiQ is currently looking for Industry partners to take this technology forward.

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