In 1929, Hans Berger, M.D., a German psychiatrist, published his findings from performing recordings of the electrical activity of the brain through the intact skull. Dr. Berger was hoping to find an organic basis for psychological phenomena. Instead he stumbled onto a very useful, noninvasive neurodiagnostic procedure, the electroencephalogram [EEG]. In 1934, Dr. Adrian and Brian Matthews confirmed Berger’s findings.
Several groups of EEG pioneers researched, discovered, and demonstrated EEG findings in children, epilepsy, coma, brain pathology, sleep and in normal populations. In the 1950s, EEGs were being performed in major medical centers and filtering into private practices.
Digital EEG recordings have replaced analog, paper recordings. With digital capabilities, EEG data analysis, long-term monitoring, and continuous EEG recordings in the ICU are new arenas.
Evoked potentials [EPs] were first introduced by Dawson in 1947. During the 1960s, there was extensive research about EPs. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, EPs were used to help diagnose multiple sclerosis, to evaluate brain stem functions and to evaluate spinal cord sensory pathways. In recent years, EPs have found their way into the operating room – intraoperative neuromonitoring [IONM] – monitoring of the integrity of sensory and motor pathways during various spinal, chest, abdominal, and head surgeries.
Highlights of the last 50 years
1959: The organizational meeting is held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The American Electroencephalographic Society (AEEGS), with Dr. Peter Kellaway, Chairman, assists a group of dedicated EEG technicians who were subscribing members of AEEGS to establish themselves as an entirely independent professional group, which incorporated as the American Society of Electroencephalographic Technicians (ASET).
1960: Under the leadership of W. Lawrence Mowery, ASET President 1959-61, the 1st Annual Meeting, an open scientific session, is held at Cape Cod, MA. The site was chosen so that ASET could meet jointly with AEEGS.
During the business meeting, 275 new members were voted into the Society. Members paid an annual dues fee of $10.00.
Business affairs of the Society are handled by the elected secretary and treasurer.
1961: ASET establishes an editorial committee and begins publication of the American Journal of EEG Technology. Non-member technicians pay a $6.50 subscription fee per volume.
1962: The Registry Committee (later the Employment Exchange Service) posts ads for positions wanted and positions available in AJET.
1963: The first written EEG exam is given.
1964: Operating with a supporting grant from United States Public Health Service (USPHS), Division of Chronic Diseases, ASET and the Committee on Training and Education of the AEEGS organize a conference on the training of EEG technicians, and subsequently, the defining qualifications of EEG technologists by direct examinations.
Under joint sponsorship from ASET and AEEGS, the American Board of Registration of EEG Technologists (ABRET), the nationally-accepted credentialing organization for EEG technicians, emerges. ABRET is incorporated in Virginia.
The first oral EEG exam is given by ABRET.
1965: ASET Board establishes the Maureen Berkley Award to be presented to an EEG technologist or non-physician for an outstanding educational article or paper published in AJET. Jon Peters is the first recipient.
1967: Membership votes to amend the organization name to the American Society of Electroencephalographic Technologists.
1968: ASET and AEEGS, with continued support from the USPHS grant, hold the 2nd Conference on Training of EEG Technicians. The focus is on the status, recruitment, and training of students in EEG and clinical neurophysiology programs.
ASET Board establishes the Training and Education Committee as a standing committee.
1969: ASET and AEEGS, later joined by the American Medical EEG Association (AMEEGA), lead the way to establishing the Joint Review Committee on Education and Training of EEG Technologists. This functions under the umbrella of the American Medical Association’s Council on Allied Health Education.
First two-year curriculum in EEG technology introduced.
1970: Along with technical review from ASET members, the AEEGS publishes the first four of a series of Guidelines in EEG, defining the wide spectrum of technical and professional competencies necessary in clinical applications of EEG and evoked potentials.
1971: ASET Training and Education Committee presents the first basic course, Fundamentals in EEG, at the annual meeting. Registration fee is $7.50 for the one-day program.
ASET and AEEGS conduct a joint symposium at the annual meeting on the future of EEG technology: “Where Do You Think EEG Is Going and How Will It Get There?”
1972: ASET representatives meet in Washington, DC with the representatives of other allied health organizations to discuss the proposed National Economic Council of Allied Health Professions and proposed unionization. ASET Board votes not to belong to or have a representative on a collective bargaining unit.
Following overwhelming response from technicians, the ASET Basic Course is repeated in conjunction with meetings of the Western Society of EEG Technologists (WSET) and Central Society of EEG Technologists (CSET).
At the annual meeting, Course I – Basics is expanded to two days, and a one-day Course II in Advanced Technology is introduced.
An accreditation process is created for training programs in EEG Technology.
The ASET Executive Office is established and a part-time position is filled by the AEEGS secretary.
1973: ASET Board appoints members to the Joint Review Committee on Education and Training of EEG Technologists (JRC). JRC adopts Essentials and Guidelines for Accreditation of Educational Programs in EEG Technology.
ASET and AEEGS collaborate to produce job descriptions for EEG technologists.
Continuing education units (CEUs) are awarded for ASET courses.
1974: Course II - Advanced Technology course expands to two days at the annual conference.
1975: Training and Education Committee expands services to include educational aids for the membership.
1976: ASET Board hires a full-time R. EEG T. as Executive Secretary, and establishes an Executive Office in Michigan.
1977: The international Organisation of Societies for Electrophysiological Technology (OSET) is inaugurated in Amsterdam. Patricia Ramsay is the first council member from the United States.
1979: ASET publishes the first in a series of journal reprints, Book I Localization and Polarity.
The Knott Educational Lecture Program is established and sponsored by the Grass Instrument Company to honor the many contributions of Dr. John Knott to the education and professionalism of EEG technology.
Membership grows to more than 1700 technologists.
The Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BPRT) gives the first credentialing exam in polysomnography (RPSGT).
1981: Organizations sponsoring EEG education programs may obtain Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through ASET’s Training and Education Committee.
ASET Board establishes the Academic Advisory Committee for directors of EEG educational programs.
1982: ASET hires a R. EEG T. as the full-time Executive Director and the Executive Office moves to Carroll, Iowa.
1983: Annual meeting is conducted jointly with the American Polysomnographic Technologists (APT) in Washington, DC. Training and education course offerings expand to include evoked potentials and Course III – Sleep Disorders with evening workshops.
ASET/AEEGS Joint symposium at the annual meeting addresses the Changing Healthcare Environment: Implications for the EEG Technologist.
ABRET gives the first evoked potential (R. EP T.) exam in July.
George Klem begins his 4-year term as OSET President. George is the first US technologist to be elected to the OSET Presidency.
1984: With an increase in technologists in leadership roles, Training and Education course offerings at the annual meeting include Management Skills, Hospital Trends, and Impact on EEG laboratories.
ASET sponsors the first National EEG Awareness Week.
Academic Advisory Council sponsors the first program for educators.
ASET celebrates its 25th Anniversary in Salt Lake City, Utah.
1985: First Annual Student Poster competition is held at the annual meeting.
1986: Digital instruments for all night sleep recordings and long-term monitoring appear.
1987: To recognize the growing field of neurodiagnostics and the diversity of its membership, ASET members vote to change the organization name to American Society of Electroneurodiagnostic Technologists. The acronym, ASET, remains unchanged.
ASET Board of Trustees awards honorary membership to Ellen Grass and establishes the Ellen Grass Guest Lecture Series to be presented at the Annual Scientific Session each year. The first Ellen Grass Lecture was presented by William Goldie, MD.
1989: ASET publishes Infection Control Guidelines for the Electroneurodiagnostic Laboratory.
ASET 30th Anniversary is celebrated at the Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA.
1990: ASET and the Canadian Association of EEG Technologists (CAET) jointly present the Annual meeting in Toronto, Canada. The Training and Education Committee presents three days of concurrent short courses before the joint Scientific Session.
1991: ASET Board of Trustees establishes a Department of Education and hires a full-time Director to oversee all educational services.
1992: ASET Training and Education Committee accepts an invitation from the Michigan Society of EEG Technologists to join them in Dearborn, Michigan to conduct the first ASET Spring Courses in EEG and Evoked Potentials.
Theda Sannit Outstanding Educator Award, established in 1990 by the Philadelphia Regional EEG Technologists Association and the Eastern Society of EEG Technologists to honor Theda’s accomplishments and contributions to EEG, is continued by ASET. Margaret Gordon, R. EEG T. is the first recipient.
1993: ASET Continuing Education (ACE) program is created to specifically recognize quality programs focusing on education in Electroneurodiagnostics. Credits are awarded to those completing the ACE process, whether or not they are an ASET member.
1994: ASET presents first focus course, Long Term Monitoring in Epilepsy, at the American Epilepsy Society conference in New Orleans.
1995: ASET, CAET, and the Fifth International Congress of the Organisation of Societies of Electrophysiological Technology (OSET) conduct joint meetings in Washington, DC.
1996: Continuing to respond to the expanding scope of practice of the membership, ASET offers a focus course on Nerve Conduction Studies.
ASET Board establishes the Kathleen Mears Lecture, to be presented annually as part of the Scientific Session. The first lecture is presented by Lewis Kull, R. EEG/EP T.
John Archibald Student Scholarship is established with John’s direction prior to his death; providing funding for a student to attend the ASET annual conference. Sheila Smith is the first recipient.
ABRET gives the first CNIM exam.
1997: ASET issues statement on EEG National Competencies
1998: ASET Continuing Education (ACE) credits become available for those reading AJET and successfully completing a posttest.
1999: ASET issues statement on Evoked Potential National Competencies.
2002: ASET Board of Trustees hires a professional association executive to fill Executive Director vacancy and the Executive Office relocates to Kansas City, MO.
ASET creates the Governmental Advocacy Committee.
2003: ASET issues statement on National Competencies for Intraoperative Neurophysiologic Monitoring (IONM).
2004: AJET is accepted for inclusion and indexing in MEDLINE/Index Medicus.
ASET Board of Trustees commissions and adopts white paper on Occupational Regulation.
ASET issues statements regarding the Scope of Practice for Electroneurodiagnostic Technologists and on National Competencies for Long-term Monitoring for Epilepsy (LTME).
ASET Foundation is established to serve as the philanthropic arm of the Society.
ASET brings distance learning opportunities and conference call seminars to the END technologist for education and professional development.
First online course in EEG is launched.
ABRET obtains a seat on the Epilepsy Foundation’s Professional Advisory Board.
2005: ASET hosts an Educational Forum to discuss the future of END education.
ASET acquires the copyright for the EEG curriculum from California College of Health Sciences.
ASET issues statement on National Competencies for Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS).
Kathy Mears Education Award is established to honor Kathy’s commitment to education; award is given to an END student and the program he/she is attending. LoriAnn Brinkman, student; Clarian Health END Technology Program, Indianapolis, Indiana are the first recipients.
ABRET forms a board to begin EEG Laboratory Accreditation.
2006: The first education grants are awarded to END students by the ASET Foundation.
ASET issues statement on National Competencies for Polysomnography.
Janet Ghigo Award is established to recognize a student technologist author of an outstanding article published in AJET. Melissa Morrigan Murphy is the first recipient.
2007: First online course in intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM) is launched.
Membership approves extending voting rights to Associate and Student members, and primary representatives of Institutional members
2008: ASET issues statement on ICU/cEEG Monitoring National Competencies.
A Bachelor’s Degree task force is convened to facilitate the development of education in END Technology at the Bachelor degree level.
Distinguished Service Award is established to honor an individual member for exemplary service and contribution to the Society and/or to the electroneurodiagnostic profession. Lewis Kull, R. EEG/EP T., CLTM and Judy Ahn-Ewing, R. EEG/EP T., CNIM are the first recipients.
The CNIM credential earns National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accreditation.
ABRET gives the first CLTM exam.
ASET introduces webinar continuing education series.
December – ASET membership surpasses the 3,000 mark.
2009: Along with ABRET and the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society (ACNS), ASET hosts an EEG Summit to address the critical need for entry-level technologists and the expansion of EEG educational opportunities.
Lewis Kull Memorial Keynote Address established with all expenses paid by ABRET to honor Lewis Kull and his commitment to electroneurodiagnostic education and superb patient care. Joyce Bender is the first presenter.
ASET Board adopts statement in support of licensure of END profession.
ASET celebrates its 50th Anniversary in Phoenix, Arizona.