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New technology allowing doctors to diagnose non-conclusive brain seizures faster

Courtesy of MyMichigan Health
The Ceribell Rapid Response EEG (electroencephalography) technology is allowing doctors to diagnose patients with brain injuries at a faster rate.

Doctors in central and northern Michigan are diagnosing patients with brain injuries faster thanks to a new technology.

The Ceribell Rapid Response EEG (electroencephalography) technology was introduced because it not only identifies non-convulsive seizures faster, but it also helps address labor issues in rural hospitals.

"Even if you had the money to you could just not hire a technician or you could not invite a neurologist to come, particularly in the rural hospitals. So, manpower is low," said Dr. Faith Fuentes, a neurologist at MyMichigan Health in Midland.

Before Ceribell, patients would need a technician to hook up nearly 20 electrodes to their head before time-consuming tests. The technology is expensive, and technicians are hard to come by in rural areas. Ceribell fits onto a patient’s head like a head band and requires no specialized training to put it on someone.

Dr. Fuentes said Ceribell produces results within minutes.

"And then also it has alarms, sound alarms so that you can be trained to listen to those blips. And when there's seizure activity. I call it the Ceribell giggle, because it sounds like somebody giggling," said Dr. Fuentes.

However, Dr. Fuentes made it clear that Ceribell cannot cover the entire brain and that other technologies coupled with technicians are still valuable and provide more in-depth results.

But having around the clock access to the Ceribell technology will save lives because a few seconds can mean the difference between life and death, Dr. Fuentes said.

Editor's note: In the interest of transparency, we note that MyMichigan Health is a financial supporter of this station.

Rick joined WCMU as a general assignment reporter in March 2022.