EEG & Immature Alpha Waves
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Q:  EEG & Immature Alpha Waves

I have recently been diagnosed with bipolar and am now well controlled on Epilim. The consultant who diagnosed me also asked me to have an EEG done which showed that I had immature alpha waves and a very rapid pulse. The consultant commented on this but did not tell me the significance of this. I was too caught up in my diagnosis at the time, and now that I have had time to think things over would like to know if there is any significance. Trouble is my consultant has now left the hospital. Can you shed light on what the EEG means?



Dear C'
Sorry, I'm not enough of an EEG guy to interpret that "immature alpha". Generally speaking if there were something more suggestive of a seizure condition, such as a "spike and wave" pattern, that might suggest that as your treatment went along you could benefit from other anticonvulsant medications that are also recognized as mood stabilizers (e.g. carbamazepine/oxcarbazepine, lamotrigine). But this pattern, sorry, can't help you there. The pulse is not particularly specific of anything except perhaps a good deal of anxiety while being tested? Somewhere along the way your thyroid should have been checked, and that would be especially important if you were to go on lithium at some point; relevant now because if it was high, that could cause a rapid pulse, and occasionally thyroid abnormalities can cause or complicate bipolar symptoms.

Dr. Phelps


Published December, 2003


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