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Sep 28, 2022

Belize International Institute of Neuroscience Performing Advanced Brain Disorder Diagnosis Test

E.E.G. machines are used to test the electrical activity in the brain using small metal discs that are attached to the skull. Through the years, diagnostic technology has been commonly used to identify persons suffering from epilepsy or other seizure disorders. But as times evolved, this century-old technology has become more compact and powerful, and diverse in its ability to diagnose a variety of brain disorders.  In Belize, there are only four certified neurologists that know how to read the data gathered from these tests. One such neurologist is Doctor Andre Cervantes. He works at the Belize International Institute for Neuroscience (B.I.N.) in Belize City. News Five’s Paul Lopez visited B.I.N. to find out more about Dr. Cervantes’ work. Here is that report. 


Paul Lopez, Reporting

The brain is the most complex organ in the human body. It controls our thoughts, memories, motor skills, and every single process that regulates our body. Over at the Belize International Institute of Neuroscience in University Heights, Doctor Andre Cervantes is using electroencephalogram (E.E.G.) (technology on his patients to test the functionability of their brains.


Andre Cervantes

Dr. Andre Cervantes, Medical Director, B.I.N.

“The EEG machine is a technology that has existed for many years. But simply talking, the modern form of it is a machine that measures brain waves. So, it will test the different types of waves which is electricity that is produced in the service of the brain in the different areas, left, right side, front back and the communication they have within. So, in a nutshell, that is testing the functionality of the brain.”


X-rays, ultrasounds, CAT scans, and MRI scans show the physical make-up of the skull and tissues around the head or inside the head. BIN’s diagnostic technology actually unlocks information from inside the brain to explain the conditions that patients are battling with.


Dr. Andre Cervantes

“An example, we are looking to buy a car. So, we look at the car. We look at it on the outside. We look at the tires. We look at the hood. We look under the hood to see if anything is disconnected if the engine is clean. We look at the car doors, see outside, how the door open, look at the dash board to see how many miles it has run, that is basically what X-rays, CAT scans, ultrasounds and MRI do. If you want to know how it functions, that is what an EEG does. You have to start the car and you have to listen to the sounds, how does it start up, is it struggling, does it turn on immediately. Do I have to gas it? Then if you are looking to get that vehicle, you have to test drive. So, it is not the same thing test driving for five minutes. You take a little drive, than if you test twenty minutes. In other words, the EEG is like when those guys take a sensor to see how the computer of a car is working. So what we are testing for, based on the patient’s needs, is how the brain is functioning.”


Dr. Cervantes, the medical director at the institute,explains that this procedure can be helpful to anyone affected by amnesia, insomnia, depression, autism, unexplained migraines, epilepsy, and any changes in one’s capacity to think.


Dr. Andre Cervantes

“It could be that you get up one day and say I am not myself, something is wrong. I am not feeling like myself for the past days, weeks, months. I cannot pin point. I have been to my doctor and it is like my doctor is very good and I always go to him or her but they kind of dispel me, but something is wrong. Can you call in to get an appointment to get one of these tests done? Definitely, even if it is the basic type of EEG, because it latest would give you a glimpse inside the brain. So, you don’t have to have condition per say. In fact, there are places that EEGs are done to see if members of a team, a professional athletic team has to think a lot. Are they functioning well? Executives in a company, how are they working? Are they fine? Is something like they are not themselves, a little bit slightly confused and you are pushing it off, I nuh have anything. X could fix this. I will wait for Friday and you end up having little glitches at work and your supervisor is not content with you.”


Dr. Phil Kennedy

According to Dr. Cervantes, by partnering with its board-certified EGG neurologist in the US to analyze the collected data, BIN eliminates any margin of error. World renowned neurologist, Doctor Phil Kennedy is one of those board-certified EEG neurologists. In the late nineties, Dr. Kennedy made global headlines for implanting several wire electrodes in the brain of a mute, paralyzed man and then teaching the locked-in patient to control a computer cursor with his mind. He spoke with us briefly via Zoom about his work and partnership with BIN.


Phil Kennedy

Dr. Phil Kennedy, Neurologist

“I have done several things, but my latest is to do the Brain Computer Interfacing, specifically focusing on speech on restoring speech to people who are locked in, totally paralyzed, they can’t speak, but they are still in there. They are aware of what is going on, and as someone told me to make them feel human again. And you asked me about Dr. Cervantes, he worked on one patient three years ago, and he also implanted my brain with several electrodes. With all that data we have been able to decoded speech, in other words understand how the neuro-segments that we record from, from part of the speech area just here above your ear. That area controls my mouth, tongue, my movement, so it actually controls how I produce speech.”


The EEG procedure is non-invasive and completely painless.  The basic test lasts for approximately thirty minutes. But, based on the needs of the patient, BIN may require longer sampling of brain recordings, which can last from sixty minutes up to three hours.


Dr. Andre Cervantes

“Usually people go to get a study or to get a treatment at a medical facility and many times even though people are friendly and service orieinted, there is not that spa experience. We have made it a spa experience, very comfortable, whiter you have come for a diagnosis, or to get a treatment, something that is not well with your brain.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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