Relaxation and Brain Rhythms: Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Theta rhythms Alpha Rhythms in the Occipital Lobe

Lessons 3&4

Surya Agrawal Edgar Bustamante Chelsea Charlsen Mingmo Lee

Computer #17 – Tuesday Lab

3 November, 2009

The alpha wave amplitude will also be higher than the control after hyperventilation. In the second experiment. the alpha. and not action potentials. BACKGROUND The electroencephalogram (EEG) is a record of the electrical potential difference between points on the surface of the scalp. and theta components of the EEG were identified and examined. performing mental math with eyes closed. Most of the electrical signal that makes up the EEG comes from pyramidal cells in the cortex. and relaxed with eyes open. our aim was to record an EEG from a resting subject with their eyes open and then closed. beta. Any sensory information entering the central nervous system is relayed through the lower centers of the brain and then sent to various regions of the central cortex. . After recording. In the second experiment. The EEG potential difference arises from graded postsynaptic potentials summed from hundreds of thousands of neurons below the electrodes. and EEG was monitored during: relaxation with eyes closed. SPECIFIC AIMS In the first experiment. the subject was to again remain awake and resting. The amplitude of the alpha waves of the EEG will decrease from the control when the eyes are opened. hyperventilation with eyes closed. The subject was to remain awake for the duration of the experiment. the EEG alpha wave amplitude will be higher while performing mental arithmetic than the control of eyes closed and relaxed.HYPOTHESIS The EEG recorded with eyes open and subject relaxing will have lower amplitude and frequency than the EEG recorded with the eyes closed and subject relaxing. delta. These recordings were then examined to observe differences in the level of alpha rhythm activity for each of the aforementioned conditions.

The EEG is valuable clinical tool because wave patterns over areas of the brain that are diseased or damaged are abnormal. hemorrhage. a shift from low amplitude to high amplitude EEG often preludes an epileptic seizure. The EEG can be used as a preliminary detection of tumors. The EEG produces a complex waveform with great variability in both frequency and amplitude.Pyramidal cells are one of two types of cortical neurons. So. Lower amplitudes mean that the cortical neurons are less activated or firing at different times. and they are the major output cells of the cortex by sending their axons to other parts of the cortex and CNS. regions of dead tissue. The wave’s frequency is a measure of how often it cycles from its maximal to minimal amplitude and then back. These pyramidal cells are rather large with processes that lie perpendicular to the brain’s surface. measured in microvolts (μV). and it is not yet agreed upon where in the brain it originates.5 to 100μV. because amplitude indicates the degree of synchronous firing of the neurons that are generating the synaptic activity. the EEG of a sleeping individual should have a lower frequency than that of an awake individual. and it is measured in hertz (Hz. There are currently many conflicting theories on the exact cause of the wavelike nature. and a general rule is that lower EEG frequencies indicate a less responsive state. and variations in blood sugar levels. Amplitudes can range from 0. blood clots. or rhythmicity. . Also. during which the frequency resembles that of an awake individual but sleep continues. or cycles/second). and the EEG records postsynaptic potentials in their dendrites. is an indicator of how much electrical activity is going on beneath the electrodes at a given time. The one exception to this is the REM stage of sleep. Higher amplitudes indicate that more electrical activity that is taking place. The amplitude. There are four distinct frequency ranges that are characteristic of EEG patterns. of the EEG.

The electrodes were placed on the right side of the subject’s scalp five minutes before calibration of BIOPAC Student Lab Program. Three electrodes were placed on each subject. they did not blink (while eyes open) or made facial muscle Due to the novelty of this methodology for the recorders and the difficulty attaching electrodes on the scalp. For the first subject: .METHODS The study was done on two subjects: 21. and one electrode on the earlobe (black lead). who was in a supine position. before this segment was recorded. weighing 141 pounds and standing 5 feet 6 inches. this step lasted 20 seconds and consisted in arithmetical problems. For the first part. the subject breathed quickly . a cycle of Eyes open. and 22-year old healthy male.eyes open was recorded. weighing 180 pounds and standing 5 feet 11 inches. calibration and recording were taken several times. For the second subject: (c) recovering from hyperventilation with eyes closed for ten seconds. Tape was needed to attach electrodes to the skin and a Lycra swim cap was placed on the subjects’ head to press the electrodes against the scalp with a constant pressure. The subjects remained relax and in supine position the entire procedure. The subjects were recorded in four conditions (cycle segments): (a) relax with eyes closed for ten seconds. as follow: one electrode on the top part behind the ear (red lead). The second part it is just a continuation of the first part and it is the similar to it except for the cycle composition.eyes closed. This alternative electrode placement was used caused by the subjects’ abundant amount of hair which did not allow a correct electrode attach. another on the middle part behind the ear (white lead). (b) performing mental math with eyes closed. Each eye condition (open or closed) lasted ten seconds. Recording of data was taken in two parts for the two subjects.year old healthy female.

66 2.00 1.99 Rhyth m Alpha Beta Delta Theta .83 CH 4 3.69 Hz (Subject 2).73 4. delta and theta as observed from the EEG complex.and deeply for two minutes. which is 8 – 13 Hz.56 CH 5 1.87 1.56 2. Subject 2 has a frequency of 7. and (d) relax with eyes open for ten seconds.05 0. For the second part.48 CH 3 2.11 7. The measurements analyzed for the first part included the amplitude (converted to standard deviation) and frequency of EEG rhythms at each eye condition. Each subject was within the typical frequency range for alpha. In each experimental condition.Standard Deviation [stddev] Chann Eyes Eyes Eyes Reel Closed Open closed CH 2 1. The frequencies determined for the alpha rhythm from Segment 1 data was 10 Hz (Subject 1) and 7. Also. we analyzed the data of each subject for each part. however. it was found that the experimental mean was larger than the control. RESULTS The results obtained via the experiment matched what was expected. After recording.55 1. the measurements analyzed included the amplitude and frequency of alpha rhythm.69 Hz which does not fall within the range of the typical frequency range.Chelsea Table 1 . Subject 1 . beta. during the recording the subject did not hyperventilated.

358 0.Rhythm Alpha Beta Delta Theta Table 2.52 10.73 1.292 2 4.767 0.11 10...316 3 4 6.066 0.338 0.57 Table 4 1.27 2.316 0.00 CH 3 25.36 Alpha [40Stddev] 1.302 6.00 22.509 Alpha rms [41Mean] 0.358 0.27 CH 5 5.07 2.34 Table 3 .292 0.819 1.55 4.59 2.292 Calculate the Differenc e (Exp Control) 0.292 0.22 CH 4 2.589 0. =) + 2 3 4 Performing Mental Math Recovering From Hyperventilati on Eyes Open 0. performing mental math Eyes Closed.00 25.38 5.26 5.024 Summa ry (+ .54 24.05 Segme nt 1 Condition Eyes Closed (control) Eyes Closed. recovering from hyperventilatio n Eyes Open EEG [1Stddev] 4.Frequency (Hz) Channel Cycle 1 Cycle 2 Cycle 3 CH 2 11.Amplitudes Mean 10.338 Segme nt Experimental Condition Experimen tal Mean Contro l Mean (Seg 1) 0.046 + + .

45 2.69 9.Frequency (Hz) Channel Cycle 1 Cycle 2 Cycle 3 CH 2 9.63 Alpha rms [41Mean] 0.90 Rhythm Alpha Beta Delta Theta Table 6.42 1.49 2.48 2.42 CH 3 1.046 4.78 0.88 Mean 9.282 0.27 CH 5 5.46 1.Standard Deviation [stddev] Chann Eyes Eyes Eyes Reel Closed Open closed CH 2 1.48 1.22 CH 4 2.72 CH 5 0.52 CH 3 22.85 Alpha [40Stddev] 1.15 2.00 22.88 Table 7 -Amplitudes Segme nt 1 2 Condition Eyes Closed (control) Eyes Closed.22 20.24 21.513 1.71 6.06 5.23 5.52 8.27 2.17 15. recovering from hyperventilatio n Eyes Open EEG [1Stddev] 5.09 1.351 0. performing mental math Eyes Closed.Subject 2 – Surya Rhyth m Alpha Beta Delta Theta Table 5 .61 1.283 .455 0.78 0.807 1.312 3 4 5.49 CH 4 2.

The delta and theta rhythms are associated with deeper stages of sleep.069 0. Frequency is the number of cycles (or peaks) per second. beta. The beta rhythm is associated with normal waking consciousness in a person with eyes open (though.. These basic rhythms are associated with various states. The alpha rhythm is a pattern of smooth.Table 8 Segme nt Experimental Condition Experimen tal Mean Contro l Mean (Seg 1) 0. delta and theta.282 Calculate the Differenc e (Exp Control) 0. regular electrical oscillations that occur in the human brain when a person is awake and relaxed with eyes closed. also occur during deep sleep) and it has a frequency of 13-30 Hz and amplitude of 5-10 μV.03 Summa ry (+. The pattern of these waves is desynchronized as a result of the sum of the electrical activity..001 + + DISCUSSION A regular periodic waveform is a waveform that repeats itself at regular intervals and is characterized because they have frequency and amplitude. The four periodic rhythms in a EEG are alpha.282 0.282 0.283 0.351 0.312 0. It has a frequency of 8-13 Hz and prominent amplitude (20-200μV) especially in the occipital and parietal region of the cerebral cortex. =) + 2 3 4 Performing Mental Math Recovering From Hyperventilati on Eyes Open 0. Amplitude is the magnitude of the displacement of a wave from a mean value (from the lowest to the highest value) and is designated as mV. They have low frequency: delta (1-5Hz) and theta (4-8Hz) that increase . or the wavelength divided by the velocity.

during sleep. it does not hold true for the beta wave. Desynchronization of the alpha rhythms occurred when the subjects’ eyes were open. stimuli affected their level of attention and alpha rhythms became desynchronizated and diminished. The standard deviation of our data represents the amount of alpha activity occurring in the subject. These rhythms also occur on awake individuals during emotional responses and difficult mental activities. Instead of getting a synchronized pattern like the alpha waves. On the other hand. beta rhythm became more pronounced in the eyes open state because when the subjects opened their eyes. These waves are distinguishes by low amplitude with multiple and varying frequencies. when the subjects opened their eyes. This is caused by the higher level of alertness the subjects were exposed to which is related to beta waves. the beta waves are in a desynchronization or alpha block wave pattern. An important point to mention is the difference between synchrony and alpha block. The beta wave occurs when the subject is attentive to his/her environment. . However. The standard deviation does not represent the amount of activity in the beta wave because the positive and negative activities are counter balancing one another. This phenomenon occurs when the subjects are awake with their eyes open and the positive and negative activities in the brain counterbalance. synchrony is proper of alpha waves in relaxing conditions and is characterized by smooth and constant oscillation with amplitudes generally large and medium frequency. Since these waves are prominent when the subjects are relaxed and eyes closed. In contrast alpha block or desynchronize is the relation that exists when things occur at unrelated times such as in beta rhythms. As discussed previously. external stimuli made them to be more attentive.

The delta and theta waves decreases because the two waves are representations of the activity in the brain while the subject has their eyes closed. when the female subject reclosed her eyes. The brain activity ignites when more than one part of the brain is required to do a mathematical function. In the male subject. Since it was a given sequence of .36 stddev. In the male. the highest EEG amplitude was during the mental math segment.The delta and theta rhythm decreased in the male subject and increased in the female subject when their eyes opened. However. Other studies have suggested that the delta and theta waves are strongest during sleep in normal adults. It has to recall the numbers from the memory and use the given mathematical function to obtain the correct answer. 15. his delta and theta waves slightly decreased when he opened his eyes and increased when he re-closed his eyes. When the subjects have their eyes closed. Mental math does require concentration. while the theta wave standard deviation slightly decreased. We can make this assumption because the amplitude for the control (eyes closed) is 4. the female subject has the highest EEG amplitude. The amplitude during the mental math is higher. the higher the amplitude of the wave is. This occurred because female subject must have been mentally distracted while trying to perform the math functions with her eyes closed. while the amplitude during mental math is 4. they are not affected by the outside stimuli and are able to focus on their thoughts. In our results. The level of concentration can be seen by its affect on the EEG waves. the numbers easily get mixed up and the total math sequence will be disturbed.73 stddev.85 stddev. for having her eyes open. the delta wave standard deviation significantly increased. 6. Without concentration.57 stddev. The higher the level of concentration. suggesting that there were more activity in the brain that normal.

Without concentration. The pH levels are also increased. In the second experiment. With a darkened room. The alpha levels were the highest for both subjects during the recovering from hyperventilation. All of these factors contributes to increased brain activity. If the subjects were recorded in a darkened room. In the first experiment. the subject will be by him/herself and will be able to obtain better results to compare with. the subject will have easily given up and the brain activity would have decreased. CONCLUSION Our experimental findings agree with our hypotheses. The darkened room will have prevented any extraneous external stimuli which would have caused the more activity in the brain. The greatest amplitudes of the waves are measured from the occipital and parietal regions of the brain. the wave activities will have been different compared to a subject tested in a lab full of students. the sounds of other lab groups causes noises in which the brain responds to. the EEG decreased when the subject opened their eyes after they had been recording with eyes closed. Alpha waves increases when the subjects have their eyes closed because alpha waves are the measurements of the brain activity during eyes closed.mathematical functions. etc. It is greatly affected if the brain is or is not receiving signals from the eyes. the subjects had to do mental math quickly in order to keep up. eyes closed . This occurs because hyperventilation decreases CO2 concentrations and increases O2 concentration in the blood. we found that the EEG was greater than the control for all three conditions: eyes closed and performing mental math. with one exception in experiment two. the conversations from nearby people causes emotional responses. thus the alpha levels are higher during the recovering process of hyperventilation. For example. The lowest alpha waves were seen when the subjects had their eyes open.

.and recovering from hyperventilation. We believe the reason that this was not the case is that the eyes open recording was taken too soon after hyperventilation. and eyes open. and the subjects were still recovering. so their blood pH had not yet returned to normal. We expected the value to be greater for mental math and recovering from hyperventilation but expected the amplitude for eyes open to be less than the control.

p. p. (2008).1-18. . Uyehara. (2009) “Lesson 3: EEG I & Lesson 4: EEG 2” Biopac Student Lab Manual. 1-16.. K. E. 233-253. and William McMullen. Widmaier. H. Richard. BIOPAC Systems. CA. Inc. & Raff.. New York: McGraw-Hill.REFERENCES Pflanzer. J. P. Vander's Human Physiology: The Mechanisms of Body Function.T. & Strang.P..C. Santa Barbara.

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