Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. It is a multidisciplinary science that involves other disciplines and refers specifically to the biology of the nervous system, and the entire science of the nervous system. Neuroscience Technology is the medical diagnostic field devoted to the recording and study of electrical activity in the brain and nervous system. Neuroscience technologists possess the skills, knowledge and attributes to obtain interpretable recordings of patients’ nervous system function. Neuroscience technologists work in collaboration with physicians, medical researchers, clinicians, and other health professionals. The Neuroscience technologist plays a vital role in the Department of Neurology in hospitals.
DESCRIPTION & QUALIFICATION OF NEUROSCIENCE TECHNOLOGY :
Neuroscience technologist has practical training to treat patients in a variety of ways. They prepare medical charts in EEG, NCS, EMG, EP’s and Polysomnogram labs. They assist the Neurologists during Electromyography and Botox procedure. They acquire knowledge in fundamental techniques and interpreting results in doing Visual Evoked Potential, Nystagmogram, Somatosensory Evoked Potential, Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response, Event Related Potentials and Autonomic function tests. Further they become acquainted with Polysomnography tests that deal with sleep disorders and about the ways to conduct technical tests in the labs to diagnose the underlying cause of the disease. It is essential to complete a degree in B.Sc AHS Neuroscience to be a Neuroscience Technologist. The curriculum includes Neuroanatomy,Neurophysiology,Neuropharmacology,Neuropathology and Biomedical Instrumentation provide students with a strong foundation in neurological functions as well as instrumentation, patient and personal safety, recording techniques, clinical neurodiagnostic and correlations. In addition Medical ethics, Basic Life Support (CPR) and involve in scientific research in their final academic year. During the academic year the obtain theory and practical knowledge in these subjects. Those who have finished this course can get jobs in leading hospitals in India and abroad.
ROLE OF NEUROSCIENCE TECHNOLOGIST :
Neuroscience Technologist possesses the skills and knowledge and attributes to obtain interpretable recordings of patients’ nervous system function. Neuroscience Technologist can be involved in one or more of the following diagnostic procedures: electroencephalography (EEG), evoked potential (EP), long term monitoring (LTM), Event Related Potentials (ERP) Polysomnography (PSG), Nerve conduction studies (NCS), Repetitive Nerve stimulation (RNS), Autonomic function studies (SSR, R-R interval) and Intraoperative monitoring (IOM). The technologist takes the medical history; documents the clinical condition of patients; understands and employs the optimal use of EEG, EP, PSG, and NCS equipment; and applies adequate recording electrodes. Among other duties, the Neuroscience Technologist also understands the interface between EEG, NCS, EP and PSG equipment and other electrophysiological devices and procedures; recognizes and understands EEG/EP/NCS/sleep activity displayed; manages medical emergencies in the laboratory; and prepares a descriptive report of recorded activity for the interpreting Neurologist. The responsibilities of the technologist may also include laboratory management and the supervision of neurodiagnostic procedures. Considerable individual initiative, sound judgment and reasoning skill are all expected of the Neuroscience Technologist.
Electroencephalogram (EEG) :
EEG is a non-invasive procedure that traces and records the brain's electrical activity. The procedure involves placing the electrodes on the scalp to study brain function. We have the potential to record up to 32 channels of EEG as well as audio and video during the exam. EEG’s aid in diagnosing seizure disorders, headaches, brain tumors, dizziness, stroke and LOC episodes.
Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS) :
Nerve Conduction Studyevaluates the ability to send an electrical impulse through motor and sensory nerves of the human body. During the procedure, patients will have surface electrodes attached in various areas to record the electrical impulse. Some of the common diagnosis found with this test are Focal/Polyneuropathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, demyelinating diseases, Radiculopathy and Brachial Plexus injury.
Electromyography (EMG) :
EMG tests the electrical activity of the muscles during rest and contraction. This involves the physician placing a very thin needle electrode into various muscles. The electrode on the needle picks up the electrical activity given off by your muscles. This activity appears on a monitor, and may be heard through a speaker. Electromyography detects the electrical potentials generated by muscle fibres when they are electrically or neurologically activated. The signals can be analyzed and interpreted to detect medical abnormalities
Evoked Potentials (EP) :
Visual Evoked Potentials (VEP) :
Visual Evoked Potentialsareelectrical impulses, initiated by brief visual stimuli, which are recorded from the scalp overlying visual cortex. Helps to study the anterior visual pathway and aids in diagnose visual losses due to damage of the optic nerve and hysterical blindness, when the loss of vision is not associated with nerve damage.
Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potentials (BAEP) :
Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potentials are the electrical signals recorded from the ear and vertex in response to a brief auditory stimulation to assess the conduction of the auditory pathway within the brainstem.Helps to diagnose hearing problem and distinguishing between damage to the acoustic nerve from damage to the auditory pathways within the brain stem.
Somatosensory Evoked Potentials (SSEP) :
SSEP are time-locked electrical potentials of the nervous system to an external stimulus. The potentials represents the functions of the ascending sensory pathways using an afferent potential, travels from the peripheral nerve to the plexus, root, spinal cord, medial lemniscus (Contralateral), thalamus, to the Somatosensory cortex. The potentials are initiated by a repetitive submaximal stimulation of a sensory, mixed nerve or dermatome and recorded from the spine or scalp. Help diagnose nerve damage or degeneration within the spinal cord or nerve roots.
Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMP) :
Helps to assess function of the saccule and inferior vestibular nerves. This test is done for those who suffer from vertigo and giddiness.
Polysomnography (PSG) :
Polysomnography is a comprehensive recording of the biophysiological changes that occur during sleep. PSG is used to diagnose, or rule out, many types of sleep disorders including Sleep apneas, narcolepsy, periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), idiopathic hypersomnia, REM behaviour disorder and parasomnias.
PLACEMENT OF NEUROSCIENCE TECHNOLOGIST :
After successful completion as a Neuroscience Technologist they are placed in hospitals, private clinics, physician's offices, research labs, university medical centers and specialized facilities such as epilepsy and sleep centers and focus on their career as a technologist. With clinical experience, they may advance to become clinical Instructors, specialists or supervisors.
HIGHER EDUCATION :
Neuroscience technology is developing rapidly, and progress in various fields. Understanding increasing urge in research opportunities our university offers Master program in Neurosciences [M.Sc Neurosciences]. The course purpose is to educate students to become reliable, independent and competent researchers who contribute significantly to breakthroughs in brain science and medicine and prepare them for the PhD.
FUTURE OF NEUROSCIENCE TECHNOLOGY :
Armed with new knowledge and technologies, Neuroscience Technology, hope not only to uncover the secrets behind our most devastating neurological diseases, but how the brain makes us who we are. Tools will bring better functional, surgical and treatment outcomes and thereby reducing the sufferings of sick. Neuroscience holds the potentials to transform every aspect of our lives and revolutionize our conception of the human mind the science of Brain…
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known”. - Carl Sagan
Mr. D. JAGADESWARAN
Lecturer in Dialysis Technology,
College of Allied Health Sciences,
Sri Ramachandra University,
No 1, Ramachandra Nagar,
Porur, Chennai – 600 116.