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2. The Brain's Electric Impulses

The neurons in the brain communicate through rapid electrical impulses. This electrical activity allows your brain to control your behavior, body functions, sensations, emotions, and thinking patterns. Doctors measure this activity with EEGs and more recently with light-sensitive proteins embedded into neuron membranes. Once the protein is in the membrane, it gives off a fluorescent signal that can tell medical professionals the voltage of a particular cell. Studying the brain's electrical impulses is important for detecting brain tumors, brain damage from head injuries, brain inflammation, strokes, sleep disorders, and other brain dysfunction. EEGs also help confirm brain death in patients in persistent comas. If there is a medical need for doctors to induce a coma, EEGs help them find the right level of anesthesia.

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