Controversial Brain Test Rejected by Judge

A controversial brain test that public defenders hoped would bolster an insanity defense for the man accused of killing a Tampa police officer was rejected Wednesday by the trial judge.

The technology behind the test had been touted as the Hubble Telescope of brain science. Called quantitative electroencephalography, or QEEG, it involves taking a standard EEG test of electrical activity in the brain and running it through a computer that compares it with hundreds of “normal” EEGs.

Its advocates say it can detect damage to many areas of the brain and help diagnose mental disorders.

Lawyers for Humberto Delgado, who is charged with the August 2009 murder of police Cpl. Mike Roberts, hoped to use it when Delgado’s first-degree murder trial begins Monday.

It was developed in large part by St. Petersburg psychologist Robert Thatcher and was administered by a QEEG proponent, Tampa psychologist Dr. William Lambos. Lambos said it showed Delgado had head injuries that likely left him insane.

But Hillsborough Circuit Judge Emmett Battles agreed with prosecutors that the QEEG is not a tool accepted by neurologists and psychiatrists to diagnose brain injuries.

The test was only one part of Delgado’s insanity defense. A psychiatrist who examined Delgado also has diagnosed him as insane.

St. Petersburg Times