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Nervous System
Brain Waves (Grades 4 to 6)



Brain Waves (Grades 4 to 6)
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.57

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    beta, electroencephalogram, electroencephalograph, epilepsy, painless, pinprick, theta, tumor, diagnose, emotional, injury, further, stress, equipment, electrical, natural
     content words:    Richard Caton, Hans Berger


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Brain Waves
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     Each time an impulse, or a message transmitted along nerve cells, travels along a nerve, a small amount of electricity is generated. The brain itself uses power equal to a 10-watt bulb. The electrical patterns that are produced by the brain's nerve actions are called brain waves. How is this possible? Well, the human body is actually made of water, minerals, and salts, making it a good conductor of electricity. That's also why you shouldn't touch power lines or play with sockets.
 
2     The millions of tiny electrical nerve signals continually whizzing in the brain cause electrical echoes in ripples to pass through the bones of the skull and outward to the skin of the scalp and head. In 1875, Richard Caton first discovered these brain waves. His process, though, used electrodes that were actually inserted into the brain. In 1929, Hans Berger, detected the brain waves with electrodes on the outside of a person's head.
 
3     Today, we still can't feel those ripples, but they can be detected with those metal sensors, or electrodes, and fed into electrical equipment to be displayed on a TV monitor or printed out on paper. The EEG is painless and harmless. It doesn't send electricity to the brain. The electroencephalograph (EEG) machine is the device that records the signals. It picks up the brain's natural electricity, or nerve signals. The electroencephalogram (EEG) trace is the pattern of wavy lines. Basically, then, the EEG shows the electrical brain waves (their sizes and shapes) depending on what the brain is doing. Your brain waves change depending on whether you are concentrating, daydreaming, or sleeping. The EEG also helps doctors to detect a wide variety of ailments such as epilepsy, brain tumor, stroke, or brain injury.

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Nervous System
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