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Clinical Neurophysiology

Current Staff:

  • Dr Sean Connolly, consultant in clinical neurophysiology
  • Ms Jill Byrne, senior neurophysiological measurement scientist
  • Ms Anne Bjerke, senior neurophysiological measurement scientist
  • Ms Lesley Bergin, departmental secretary and receptionist

A variety of clinical neurophysiological investigation are provided for inpatients and outpatients. The tests are carried out by the consultant and neurophysiological measurement scientists, and are reported by the consultant. Enquiries can be made by contacting the department reception on: (01) 221 4412 or fax number:  (01) 2214965.

The range of tests available include:

  • Electroencephalography (EEG) refers to the recording of electrical brain activity using surface electrodes placed on the scalp.
  • Sleep-deprived EEG is performed after the patient has been sleep-deprived for 24 hours prior to start of test.
  • Visual Evoked Responses (VERs) are elicited by a visual simulus and recorded from the scalp over the visual cortex with surface electrodes. They are used to investigate the integrity of the visual pathways.
  • Electroretinogram (ERG) assesses the functioning of the retina, also elicited by visual stimulation.
  • Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potentials (BAEPs) utilise a clicking stimulus applied to the ears to generate responses which travel via the brain stem to the auditory cortex. These responses are recorded from the scalp using surface electrodes.
  • Somatosensory Evoked Potentials (SSEPs) involve stimulation of the tibial or median nerves and recording the evoked responses at certain peripheral and central sites along the somatosensory pathway between the stimulus site and the sensory cortex.
  • Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS) are used to check the integrity of peripheral nerves. Peripheral or cranial nerves can be stimulated by small electrical stimuli applied by using either surface or needle electrodes. Recordings of the elicited action potentials are made either from another site along that nerve or from a muscle innervated by the stimulated nerve. These studies are used to study the function of large diameter sensory and motor nerves.
  • Needle Electromyography (EMG) is a study of muscle function. It involves recording action potentials from skeletal muscles using needle electrodes. Qualitative and quantitative analysis can be performed. It is performed solely by the Consultant in Clinical Neurophysiology.
  • Quantitative Sensory Testing (QST) is used to estimate thresholds to warming, cooling, heat pain, cold pain and vibration in the limbs. It allows assessment of small and large fibre sensory nerve fibres.