Normal EEG Activity

The cerebral activity recorded at electroencephalography is generally rhythmic, that is, it consists of regularly recurring waveforms of similar duration and morphology. It is widely believed that the rhythmicity is imposed on the cerebral cortex by a thalamic pacemaker. '4

Activity recorded in the human EEG is characterized by its frequency. In normal adults, a posteriorly predominant 8- to 12-Hz rhythm is present and is attenuated by eye opening; this is designated the alpha rhythm (...Fig 2,4.-1.). Faster-frequency activity, or beta activity, is also present to a variable extent, has a generalized distribution, and is enhanced by certain medications such as benzodiazepines. Activity slower than 8 Hz is designated as theta (4 to 7 Hz) or delta (less than 4 Hz) activity. Such slow activity is a normal feature of certain stages of sleep but is generally not present in awake alert adults.

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