New research suggests that an electroencephalogram (EEG) could be a strong indicator of the level of awareness of patients in a vegetative state after a severe brain injury.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has repeatedly shown that a significant minority of patients diagnosed as in the vegetative state are aware, but unable to show it reliably with their behavior.
The new research findings, published in Annals of Neurology, suggest a correspondence between a patient’s ability to generate an EEG marker of attention to tactile stimulation, and their ability to produce the critical clinical marker of awareness by following verbal commands.
Crucially, this relationship existed for patients who could only follow commands with the more expensive methods of fMRI.
The mental demands of the EEG task are lower than the demands of the fMRI tasks. Furthermore, EEG is entirely portable, inexpensive, and available at NeuroHealth Associates.
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