APEX Brain Centers

What is the Difference Between EEG and qEEG?

EEG is the abbreviation for electroencephalography, a test used to measure the electrical activity of the brain. It can help doctors diagnose conditions such as seizures, tumors, and head injuries. EEGs are typically performed in a hospital or clinic setting.

qEEG is a more recent development in brain mapping that uses quantitative analysis to produce a map of the brain’s electrical activity. This can help to identify patterns that may be associated with neurological disorders. qEEG is often used in combination with other tests, such as MRI or CT scans.

The difference between EEG and qEEG lies in the q. A standard electroencephalogram (EEG) records electrical activity or brainwaves that are representative of underlying cortical brain activity. A quantitative EEG (qEEG) applies sophisticated mathematical and statistical analysis to these brainwaves and compares them to age and gender controls.

Databases were compiled from the EEGs of individuals with no known brain dysfunction. Both the EEG and qEEG give us valuable information about real-time function within the brain at the time of evaluation. The qEEG process allows providers like APEX Brain Centers to create a brain map through this combination of precise measurement and quantitative comparison.

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Brain Scan Showing Gray Matter

How can qEEG help you improve brain function?

A qEEG is an essential diagnostic element of a comprehensive clinical review. This allows the brain to understand cortical electric activity in the brain. This information can reveal how brain cells communicate. qEEG provides information that can help both inform and track the progress of the treatment. More broadly, it can help understand the brain function.

Display showing qEEG brain image

qEEG brain maps and brain waves

Maps are critical when it comes to getting folks to their desired destination. The same is true with brain maps. qEEG brain mapping allows providers like APEX Brain Centers to identify patterns of dysfunction that are often consistent with varying disorders of the brain, such as learning and behavioral issues, emotional disorders, brain injury, and many others.

Quantitative EEG is the map used to guide individuals through their journey of improving brainwave activity and correcting dysfunctional patterns step-by-step. At APEX, we use brain mapping to specifically direct brain training modalities such as Neurofeedback and transcranial magnetic stimulation. These are the vehicles that will get you where you want to go in cases of brain-based disorders.

Brain maps also allow us to fine-tune normally functioning brains for those interested in peak performance training.

Brain waves are the electrical impulses that allow your brain to communicate with the rest of your body. The type and strength of these waves can be measured by quantitative electroencephalography, which is a map of your brain’s electrical activity. This brain mapping can be used to diagnose and treat various conditions.

5 types of brain wave patterns

Your mind is the strongest electromagnetic generator on earth. The brain works by utilizing electrical and neurotransmitters. Electric energy (a flow of charges) moves through our body constantly, but where does electricity come from? Neurons communicate via electrical signals, and when millions of neurons communicate between them, they can produce synchronized electrical pulses, also called brain waves. Brain wave patterns exist in five different forms: delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma.

  • Delta waves are the slowest brain waves, with a frequency of fewer than four cycles per second (hertz)
  • Theta waves are faster than delta waves, with a frequency between 4-8 hertz.
  • Alpha Waves have a frequency range of 8-12 hertz
  • Beta ranges 12-30 hertz
  • Gamma Waves are fastest with frequencies greater than 30 hertz. 

These four types of brain wave patterns represent different states of consciousness, which correspond to four stages of sleep: NREM1 – Stage 1, NREM2 – Stage 2, REM sleep – Stage 3, and deep sleep. Each stage is characterized by specific electrophysiological characteristics such as the type and frequency of brain waves during that stage. For example, alpha waves predominate during the awake state while beta activity predominates during focused attention tasks or mental processing tasks.

EEG brain

What research shows about qEEG brain mapping?

There are literally a thousand scientific and clinical studies available about quantitative EEG for various clinical conditions, like memory disorders, anxiety disorders, PTSD/ADHD, and processing problems for autism. There have been many studies on brainwave underactivity in kids with ADD/ADHD. ADD/ADHD children with slow brainwave activity in their front brains were progressively worsening when they were attempting to concentrate.

After just a few sessions of neurofeedback, those kids improved their brainwave activity, and symptoms were lessened. The studies also showed that this effect lasted months after the treatment was completed.

In one study, researchers used quantitative electroencephalography to differentiate between Alzheimer’s patients and healthy control subjects. They found that the Alzheimer’s group had significantly more theta waves and fewer alpha waves than the control group. This suggests that qEEG could potentially be used as a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease.

In another study, researchers looked at how well qEEG predicts which children will respond to medication for ADHD. They found that brain maps were able to correctly identify 80% of the kids who would respond to medication.

There are many other studies that have found qEEG to be a valuable tool in the diagnosis and treatment of various conditions. The bottom line is that qEEG is a well-validated, research-supported method for assessing brain function.

How can clients prepare for qEEG sessions?

The typical quantitative electroencephalography/brain mapping procedure takes approximately one hour without any delays. The qEEG session is noninvasive and requires sitting on a comfortable chair. The cap on the head is attached with an ear clip on each headpiece. To achieve maximum results:

  • Do not drink any coffee, tea or other caffeinated beverages on the day of testing.
  • Do not smoke tobacco products for at least 2 hours before the session.
  • Avoid eating a large meal for at least 2 hours before the session.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that does not have metal fasteners.
  • For hair longer than shoulder length, please bring a comb or brush to the session.
IMG 5462

What should I expect during the qEEG sessions?

During the quantitative electroencephalography session, you will be asked to sit in a comfortable chair and relax with your eyes closed while the sensors collect data from your brain. The qEEG cap is connected to a computer, which will record your brainwave activity. The entire process usually takes about one hour.

After the qEEG session is complete, the data will be analyzed and a report will be generated. This report will be reviewed with you during a follow-up appointment. The qEEG report will provide valuable information about your brain function and can be used to guide treatment.

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If you are interested in learning more about qEEG or scheduling a session, please contact us by calling (828) 708-5274 or scheduling a free consultation with one of our board certified physicians. We will be happy to answer any of your questions.

Dr. Michael S. Trayford is a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and Neurofeedback Specialist with over 20 years of experience in the practice of advanced functional neurology. He is one of the most highly sought-after brain rehabilitation specialists because of the life-changing outcomes his patients consistently experience. After over a decade in private practice and working alongside other pioneers in the field, Dr. Trayford developed his multimodal intensive brain training and rehabilitation program built around the science of Neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to learn and grow dependent upon the stimulation it receives from its environment. He later founded APEX Brain Centers to combine his ground-breaking rehabilitation approach with a unique patient and caretaker-centered care model. Under Dr. Trayford’s leadership, APEX Brain Centers has successfully treated thousands of patients and earned the reputation of a world-renowned brain training and rehabilitation practice. Since its inception, Dr. Trayford has been a leader of the Brain Training revolution treating patients worldwide. In addition, he is a published journal contributor and international lecturer. His experience with various patients of all ages and neurological conditions has given him a unique perspective on brain health and human performance. He is also well-versed in collaborating with other health care professionals, making him an invaluable asset to any care team. Dr. Trayford was awarded the Functional Neurologist of the Year distinction by the International Association of Functional Neurology and Rehabilitation, where he is a proud member and conference lecturer. Currently, he serves on the Advisory Council for the Dementia Society of America and the Board of Directors for the International Society for Neuroregulation and Research. He is also a servant leader who has dedicated his adult life to serving multiple communities through Rotary International and other notable causes. When he’s not treating patients, Dr. Trayford usually reads or researches anything related to the brain, human performance, and leadership. He also loves spending time outdoors with his wife Denise, their two daughters, and dogs in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. https://www.linkedin.com/in/drmichaeltrayford/


  1. Lana I. on June 1, 2024 at 8:12 pm

    Can qEEG be of assistance when there is an unidentifiable diagnosis of brain cell loss? My significant other was thought to have CJD but spinal tap did not confirm that although he was quickly declining with continuous seizures. We were left with anti seizure meds and antidepressants meds with no hope of recovery. He had sustained 2 major concussions in high school (in the late 60s) and had taken a bad fall 6-8 months earlier before all this happened. Neurologist ignored this information and was convinced he had CJD. Said MRI and EEG saw no brain injury.

    • DR. MICHAEL S. TRAYFORD on June 10, 2024 at 6:31 pm

      qEEG, per se, will not diagnose brain cell loss; although, it is useful for determining the power output of one’s brain (among many other diagnostic factors). Best to call us to discuss and chronic brain injury care is our specialty. 828.708.5274.

  2. Anne G. Walch on June 12, 2023 at 4:21 pm

    Can you see a qEEG neuroborreliosis pattern?

    • DR. MICHAEL S. TRAYFORD on July 16, 2023 at 3:23 pm

      If causing encephalitis there can be global slowing (delta/theta) and decreased power (amplitude) of various waveforms. It can mimic much of what we see with TBI. Feel free to call us to discuss further. Thanks for reaching out.

  3. mark griffiths on June 10, 2022 at 6:08 pm

    Dose a qeeg have raw data line,s like a eeg to read

    • APEX Brain Specialist on June 16, 2022 at 11:29 am

      Yes, qEEG is typical/raw EEG data compared to normative database data.

  4. Jehad Hamad on December 31, 2021 at 10:31 pm

    Can qeeg diagnose ADHD

    • admin on January 3, 2022 at 9:30 pm

      We rarely use just one tool/metric to diagnose something such as ADHD. There are several patterns seen on qEEG that are consistent with the different types of ADHD. These qEEG readings in concert with cognitive testing, oculomotor (eye movement) functions, and tests of motor timing, impulse control, etc. can lead us to a more definitive diagnosis. Feel free to call us at 828.708.5274 to discuss.

  5. VeronicaA on December 23, 2020 at 1:17 am

    qEEG use the same stimulus that an EEG (lights, hyperventilation, etc) or others?

    • admin on January 3, 2021 at 2:52 am

      Not necessarily. We can test under many circumstances, although typically done with eyes open and eyes closed readings. The stimulus readings are to induce/assess for seizure activity.

  6. Jeff on December 17, 2020 at 10:46 pm

    So EEG only records the brainwaves, while qEEG provides the statistical analysis of the same brainwaves. So Can qEEG used as an alternative of EEG?

    • admin on December 18, 2020 at 2:26 pm

      Yes, the qEEG is the comparison of the raw EEG data to age and gender matched data pools. Both normative data sets, and even now for TBI and other specific conditions. In essence it can be used as an alternative, although not to diagnose seizure disorders and the like. Also, we always look at the raw EEG and qEEG concurrently, never one exclusive of, or as alternative to, the other.

  7. haim on December 8, 2020 at 11:55 pm

    can qeeg scan give us the map to the faUlt
    mechanisem of hearing system in pain hyperacusis?also with cronic tinnitus?
    if the aswer is yes,where can i do this scan test

    • admin on December 9, 2020 at 4:24 pm

      qEEG will not necessarily show the exact ‘location’ of hyperacusis or tinnitus in the brain. We may likely see deviations from the norm in areas of the temporal lobe, etc. that have to do with hearing. qEEG findings need to be tied into neurological examination, history, and other factors in order to find the root cause. These are largely functional problems that involve sensory integration and central processing, and no one test will yield the answers. Feel free to call us at 828.708.5274 if you’d care to discuss further.

  8. Dr.Vijayakumar on July 26, 2020 at 2:15 am

    What do the colors in the brain mapping signify?
    Give details of the interpretation of the qeeg mapping.

    • admin on July 26, 2020 at 8:27 pm

      As noted in the post, qEEG is analysis of brainwave activity as compared to age and gender controlled/normative databases.

      The colors signify how much higher or lower one’s output is compared to the database norms in any given brainwave range (delta, theta, alpha, beta, etc.).

      As far as giving details of interpretation of qEEG; I am unclear as to what you are asking as there is no specific case study demonstrated in this post.

      If you require consultation for a specific case, feel free to call our office for brief consultation. Thank you for your inquiry.

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