Thursday, December 8, 2011

Brain Scan #2 (mine)

Several posts ago I shared the results of the Kiddos quantitative eeg. I thought it was an extremely interesting process and was fascinated by the results. Most insurance doesn’t cover the testing or the analysis so we were lucky to get it done and being able to ‘see’ how his brain is working still seems like a rather special treat.

So because our insurance does cover the scan and because most people that know me would tell you that the Kiddo gets his ADHD from me I thought about having it done myself… The thing is I am functional; I use alarms, calendars, notes and lists and I get everything done that needs doing. Very rarely does anything big fall through cracks. This being the case most people would question going through the diagnosis process. I have one brother who is as fascinated by the idea as I am, I have another that pretty much told me I was an idiot for being willing to let that ‘condition’ be officially diagnosed and put on my record.

Personally I do not see ADHD as a negative thing I believe that if it can be controlled then it can actually be beneficial. Being able to think and do multiple things at once means that you respond better under pressure. Crisis situations are easier to deal with because if one part of your brain locks down the other parts still work to solve the problem. If you can control the negatives (prioritizing and distractibility) then you can actually be a higher functioning individual then those without AHDH. It is all in how you view it, use it, and control it!

So I had my brain scanned. The QEEG itself was an interesting process, as I mentioned with the Kiddo they place a cap with electrodes onto your head. The electrodes measure your brain waves, you can see them jump when you blink or move. Once I was hooked up I had sit still with my eyes closed for 10 minutes (the tech ended up having to put cotton balls over my eyes to help them stay still). Once that was done I was supposed to sit as quietly as I could with my eyes OPEN for ten minutes (with as little blinking as possible). Having my eyes open was the hardest part but somehow I made it through.

Once the test was done I was sent home, I didn’t receive the analysis for two weeks. I wondered if my form of ADHD was the same as the Kiddos. I wondered if I even had ADHD, I mean I was fairly certain I did but what if I didn’t? Finally two weeks passed and it was time for the results…

The doc discussed the difference between beta waves, and theta waves; if I remember correctly theta waves are the ones that indicate daydreaming or random thought (v.s. focused thought). He pulled out a graph and showed it to me. It shows the ratio levels between theta and beta waves. There’s a dotted line there in the middle that indicates what the normal ratio would be, slightly above that line is another solid line which is where they “begin diagnosis of ADHD”, generally plus or minus a bit.

Theta graph

Then he went all the way to the top of the paper and wrote a number (circled here in yellow). I’ll admit I started laughing, no WAY doc!! He grinned at my reaction, yep my theta wave measurements were so high I’m not even on the chart. He told me that the level really doesn’t matter, it’s somewhat like being pregnant you either are or you aren’t… still I can’t help but chuckle, I mean good gosh off the chart?? yeesh!!

The most interesting part of the whole process was finding out that I am polar opposite from the Kiddo. He has a type of ADHD that only 5% of cases have (overactive brain). I have the type that 90% of cases have. Basically while he is sitting there trying to watch twelve tv channels at once, I’ve quickly flipping through them one at a time… I suppose the good news is that I do go back through the channels so I tend to finish my thoughts and tasks, it’s just done in a disjointed scattered fashion.

The two scan results next to each other are equally fascinating. Remember blue indicates under activity, green is average, and red is over activity. The first picture is the Kiddos results, I boxed in the important part that shows his high over activity in the Beta range. The second picture is my results, again I boxed in the important part to show the high activity in the Theta range.

Chance QEEG…………Gw qeeg

The lower pictures have something to do with neuron movement. I’m not perfectly clear on the meaning but I believe that since he is over active Beta his are fewer but mine are moving so fast because they are related to Theta. If I knew more about neurology I’d understand better, mostly it’s just fun to see the differences between the two types and how they show up.

I suppose the biggest thing I learned through this is why I am doing so much better in school now (online classes) vs when I was in a physical classroom. With online home schooling I can get up and wander, get distracted and refocus myself … without missing out on information or losing points. Even with the final exams, which are timed three hour multiple choice tests, I can wander out and come back (so long as I monitor the clock to ensure I have enough time left to finish). I have found that I do my best schooling when the Kiddo is home because I have that one extra thing to pay attention too. It really does explain a lot!

The doc DID prescribe medication for me to try if I wanted. It IS a stimulant and it could cause me to have mood swings, excessive fatigue, and lack of appetite. I did fill the script but I haven’t decided yet if I want to take them. The key thought is that using medication to control the ADHD for one month doesn’t mean I would have to continue to use it after that point. Mostly I filled the script because I think it would be interesting to see how it feels to have normal focus; knowing what I “can do” could drive me to try to do better without medication.

At the very least through all of this I was able to have an interesting experience. Think about it how many parents can say they’ve seen how their child's brain functions and been able to compare it to their own? It’s just one more tool for me to use to help my child learn and grow. Very cool!


Siobhan Muir / Meg Palevich said...

How very scientific in your exploration! Well done. :)

Lynsey, Rob, Nate, and Brynn said...

Wow... that is very interesting. I think that is something cool to know about yourself.


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