Technological Developments



The first major advance in the area of sleep and waking in the twentieth century was the development of technology that could record the electrical activity of the brain. The instrument or machine that does this is the electroencephalograph and the record of electrical activity produced by the machine is the electroencephalogram. Both the machine and the record are abbreviated as EEG. So we often see terms like “EEG machine,” “EEG record,” and “EEG signals.” This technology provided the single most important tool that enabled subsequent advances to be made. It is impossible to imagine how our current knowledge about the functioning of the brain could have been acquired without our ability to record its electrical signals. The introduction and first application of EEG technology is usually attributed to Hans Berger (1873–1941), a professor of neurology and psychiatry at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany. Berger’s discovery of the EEG in humans was built upon the work of four scientists at the end of the eighteenth century and in the nineteenth century. These scientists, an Italian, a German, an Englishman, and a Pole, did the pioneering work on animals that demonstrated neural activity was accompanied by detectable electrical changes.


NREM Sleep Compound Action Potential Sleep Spindle Delta Wave Evoke Compound Action Potential 
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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 2002

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