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What do neurodiagnostic and sleep science (NDSS) technologists do?

By recording and studying the electrical activity of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, neurodiagnostic and sleep science technologists better understand the roles of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. They expand this understanding through therapeutic procedures such positive airway pressure and supplemental oxygen titration to treat patients with sleep disorders. NDSS technologists use polysomnography which records brain waves, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, breathing, as well as eye and leg movements. Using a process known as scoring, technologists gather information from testing using sensors; this is then inputted into a computer system and displayed on the screen as a series of waveforms. They then analyze the waveforms to determine the patient’s sleep or wake state and to assess for any abnormalities in the physiologic variables recorded. Common sleep disorders studied by NDSS technologists include insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, periodic limb movement disorder, hypersomnia, snoring, arousal disorders, sleep-wake transition disorders, circadian rhythm sleep disorders, sleepwalking, restless legs syndrome, and sleep disorders associated with mental disorders, neurological disorders, and other medical disorders.

Technologists perform a variety of tests including:

  • recording sleep studies (polysomnograms or PSG)
  • recording brain wave activity (electroencephalography or EEG)
  • recording responses from peripheral nerve stimulation (nerve conduction studies or NCS)
  • recording stimulus evoked responses from the brain and spinal cord (Evoked Potentials or EP)
  • monitoring brain and spinal cord activity during surgery (intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring IONM)

Nervous System and Behavioral Treatment utilizing NDSS procedures

Neurodiagnostic procedures are used to diagnose conditions such as seizures, epilepsy, congenital and developmental malfunctions, infectious diseases, movement and pain disorders, neuromuscular disorders, toxic and metabolic diseases, nutritional and endocrine disorders, tumors, degenerative disorders and dementia, and vascular disorders. It is also becoming standard to use these procedures to monitor the brain and spinal cord during surgery to reduce postoperative neurological deficits. Neurodiagnostic and sleep science procedures also aid in the evaluation of disorders such as psychotic disorders, depression and mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and somatoform and dissociative disorders.