Recently during a post-Grammy interview, the on-air report had some serious difficulties in getting her words out. You can read about it and see the video here .
The reporter in this article likely had a TIA… a Transient Ischemic Attack… the temporary insufficiency of vascular flow dynamics to a cortical area providing insufficient local glucose and oxygen for function. This can happen from just flow dynamics due to vasoconstriction, such as seen in hyperventilation or gross over-arousal. This can also happen when blood consistency is not appropriate to allow flow, such as seen with hyperglycemia in diabetics when their blood sugar rises too high.
You may think “what does this have to do with EEG?”… well it is an important EEG area, and not without controversy.
The mid-temporal sharp-slow transients that are seen in EEG are considered neurologically non-specific, and many neurologists do not even comment on them. This is a mistake, as these nonspecific changes are a harbinger of vascular issues, including ischemia (as seen in migraine ischemia and the current discussion of TIAs), or vascular insufficiency, commonly in the vertebro-basillar artery and posterior vascular distributions supplying the hippo-campus (which has a huge metabolic demand load).
No less than Ernst Neidermayer chastises the neurologists doing EEG interpretations for under-reading of these findings. He clearly shows in his paper that these non-specific findings are important.
Recently I had a client who sent in the EEG of his wife, who had experience some word-finding and fluency issues, and it had these “nonspecific” temporal findings on the left… we suggested an MRA (magnetic resonance angiography), and though they had already done the MRI (which was normal), the MRA was done. The MRA showed a 9 millimeter AV malformation, and surgery was done to patch this area so it didn’t burst, saving her life.
These are the sort of waveform distortions that require an experienced EEG interpretation, and preferably an expert with Board qualification in EEG, not just someone licensed to read EEGs. These controversial findings make all the difference, and it is exactly these areas that provide the large difference between interpretation in studies looking at inter-reader visual EEG reliability.