07/17/2009

"Brainbeat" - Estimating Brain Load from the EEG

The research group at the Brain and Work Research Centre of the Finnish
Institute of Occupational Health has developed an index, based on two-channel
electroencephalography (EEG) that can be used as a measure for objective
overall brain load estimation.

The calculated index reacts to external factors, such as changes in the
information load of a cognitive task a person is performing. Also, internal
physiological loading factors such as lack of sleep and increased waking time
affect the measure. After a normal night's sleep, the index recovers to the
value of the previous morning. As a measure of brain state and its dynamics,
the index can be considered equivalent to the heartbeat measured by
electrocardiogram. This inspired the researchers to name the index "brainbeat".

Modern work requires multitasking and prolonged need for sustained vigilance,
increasing work related stress and the risk of human errors. In a 24/7 society,
irregular working hours as well as irregular sleeping in general have
increased. Also, in everyday life, people operate in complex environments, e.g.
when driving a car or using their mobile technology devices while walking in a
shopping mall. As there are several factors that can burden the brain, novel
approaches that allow objective estimation of available brain resources are
needed. The brainbeat provides a new tool for identifying overloading of the
brain, and optimizing cognitive demands of work, with a view to creating humane
environments of everyday life and work. Brainbeat, that can be measured while
performing various daily tasks, presents several new possibilities for
promoting brain health and wellbeing.


More info


AplusA-online.de - Source: Finnish Institute of Occupational Health