How one affected person’s textured hair practically stored her from a wanted EEG

How one affected person’s textured hair practically stored her from a wanted EEG

Sadé Lewis of Queens, New York, has suffered migraines since she was a child, and as she began faculty, they acquired worse. A latest change in her insurance coverage left the 27-year-old searching for a brand new neurologist. That is when she discovered West 14 Road MedicalArts in New York.

MedicalArts really helpful that she get an electroencephalogram (EEG) and an MRI to ensure her mind was functioning correctly.

An EEG is a take a look at to measure {the electrical} exercise of the mind. It could possibly discover modifications in mind exercise that may assist in diagnosing situations together with epilepsy, sleep issues, and mind tumors. Through the process, electrodes consisting of small metallic discs with connected wires are pasted onto the scalp utilizing adhesive, or connected to an electrode cap that you simply put on in your head.

Just a little over every week earlier than her EEG, Lewis was given directions that she did not bear in mind getting earlier than a earlier EEG appointment.

To Lewis’ shock, sufferers had been instructed to take away all hair extensions, braids, cornrows, wigs, and many others. Additionally, she was to clean her hair with a light shampoo the evening earlier than the appointment and never use any conditioners, hair lotions, sprays, oils, or styling gels.

“The very first thing I actually did was textual content it to my finest pal, and I used to be, like, that is form of anti-Black,” Lewis mentioned. “I simply really feel prefer it creates a bunch of confusion, and it alienates sufferers who clearly want these procedures carried out.”

The restrictions might discourage folks with thick, curly, and textured hair from going ahead with their care. Individuals with extra everlasting kinds like locs — a coiffure by which hair strands are coiled, braided, twisted, or palm-rolled to create a rope-like look — could be barred from getting the take a look at carried out.

Kinky or curly hair textures are sometimes extra delicate and vulnerable to break. Because of this, folks with curlier hair textures usually put on protecting hairstyles, comparable to weaves, braids, and twists, which assist preserve hair size and well being by protecting the ends of the hair tucked away and minimizing manipulation.

After receiving the directions, Lewis scoured the web and social media channels to see if she might discover extra data on finest practices. However she seen that for folks with thick and textured hair, there have been few tips about finest hairstyles for an EEG.

Lewis has thick, curly hair and believed that explicitly following the directions on the preparation worksheet would make it more durable, not simpler, for the technician to achieve her scalp. Lewis determined that her mini-twists — a protecting model by which the hair is parted into small sections and twisted — can be one of the best ways for her to indicate as much as the appointment with clear and product-free hair that also allowed for simple entry to her scalp.

Lewis felt snug along with her plan and didn’t give it some thought once more till she acquired a reminder e-mail the day earlier than her EEG and MRI appointment that restated the restrictive directions and added a warning: Failure to conform would outcome within the appointment being rescheduled and a $50 same-day cancellation price.

To keep away from the penalty, Lewis emailed the power along with her considerations and connected images.

“I acquired form of apprehensive, and I despatched them photos of my hair pondering that it might go nicely, and they might be, like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s advantageous. We see what you see,'” mentioned Lewis.

Quickly after, she acquired a name from the power and was instructed she wouldn’t have the ability to get the process carried out along with her hair within the twists. After the decision, Lewis posted a TikTok video detailing the dialog. She expressed her frustration and felt that the particular person on the cellphone was “close-minded.”

“As a Black lady, that’s so exclusionary for coarse and thick hair. To actually don’t have any product in your hair and present up with it free, you are not even reaching my scalp with that,” Lewis mentioned in her video.

The feedback part on Lewis’ TikTok video is stuffed with folks sharing in her frustration and confusion or recounting related experiences with EEG scheduling.

West 14 Road MedicalArts declined to remark for this text.

The New York medical middle will not be the one facility with related EEG prep directions. The Neurology Heart, which has a number of places within the Washington, D.C., space, gives EEG pretest directions for sufferers studying, “Please take away any hair extensions or additions. Don’t use hair therapy merchandise comparable to hair spray, conditioners, or hair dressing, nor do you have to repair your hair in tight braids or corn rows.”

Marc Hanna, the neurophysiology supervisor on the middle’s White Oak location in Silver Spring, Maryland, has greater than 30 years of expertise performing EEGs. He oversees 10-12 EEG technicians on the facility.

Hanna mentioned the hair guidelines are supposed to assist a technician get an correct studying from the take a look at. “The electrodes want to take a seat flat on the scalp, they usually should be in exact spots on the scalp which might be equally aside from one another,” Hanna mentioned.

For folks with thick and curly hair, this generally is a problem.

A 2020 article from Science Information detailed a research that measured how a lot coarse, curly hair might intrude with measuring mind alerts. A great EEG sign is taken into account to have lower than 50 kilo-Ohms of impedance, however the researchers discovered unbraided, curly hair with customary electrodes yielded 615 kilo-Ohms.

Researchers are working to higher seize mind waves of individuals with naturally thick and curly hair. Pleasure Jackson, a biomedical engineering main on the College of Miami, developed a clip-like gadget that may assist electrodes higher adhere to the scalp.

Experimentation with totally different braiding patterns and versatile electrode clips formed like dragonfly wings, designed to push below the braids, has had promising outcomes. A research, printed by bioRxiv, discovered this methodology resulted in a studying nicely throughout the vary for a dependable EEG measurement.

However extra analysis must be carried out earlier than merchandise like these are extensively utilized by medical amenities.

Hanna mentioned the power the place he works doesn’t mechanically ask sufferers to take away their protecting kinds as a result of typically the technician can full the take a look at with out them doing so.

“Every a type of instances are a person case,” Hanna mentioned. “So, at our facility, we don’t ask the affected person to take all their braids out. We simply ask them to return in. Typically, if one of many technicians can be found when the affected person is scheduling, they will simply have a look at the hair and say, ‘OK, we are able to do it’ or ‘We don’t suppose we are able to do it.’ And we even may say, ‘We don’t suppose we are able to do it however are available and we’ll strive.'”

In observe, Hanna mentioned, it is not frequent for hair to be a difficulty. However for sufferers whose coiffure may make the take a look at inaccurate, he mentioned, it turns into a dialog between the physician and the affected person.

When Lewis arrived the next day for her MRI and EEG appointment, she was instructed her EEG had been canceled.

“It was simply form of baffling a bit of bit as a result of, actually, as quickly as I stroll in, I noticed about 4 totally different Black ladies who all had both twists, locs, braids, or one thing,” she mentioned. “And on the decision, the girl was saying if you happen to are available and my hair will not be free, we’re going to cost you. And he or she did suggest to cancel my appointment. However I by no means permitted that.”

After Lewis defined what occurred in the course of the cellphone name, she mentioned, the receptionist was very apologetic and mentioned the data Lewis was given was not true. Lewis mentioned she spoke with one of many EEG technicians on the facility to substantiate that her mini-twists would work for the take a look at — and felt a sigh of aid when she noticed the technician was additionally a Black lady.

“The technician, I believe general, they simply made me really feel secure,” Lewis mentioned. “As a result of I felt like they might determine with me simply from a cultural standpoint, a racial standpoint. So, it did make me really feel a bit of bit extra legitimate in my emotions.”

Lewis later returned to the power to get the process carried out whereas nonetheless carrying mini-twists. This time, the method was seamless.

Her recommendation for different sufferers? “While you really feel one thing, undoubtedly communicate out, ask questions.”

This text was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Household Basis. Kaiser Well being Information, an editorially impartial information service, is a program of the Kaiser Household Basis, a nonpartisan well being care coverage analysis group unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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