Author(s): Katayama Y, Tsubokawa T, Yamamoto T, Hirayama T, Miyazaki S,
Abstract Share this page
Abstract A series of eight patients in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) were subjected to chronic deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the purpose of promoting recovery from the PVS. The characteristics of the brain activity in these patients were evaluated from the late positive component of the cerebral evoked potential in response to painful stimuli (pain-related P250). While any neurological scoring system for the comatose state includes evaluations of motor reactions to painful stimuli, the pain-related P250 is unique in terms of its ability to assess the cortical responsiveness to painful stimuli directly and quantitatively without involving functions of the motor system. It was found that the pain-related P250 was more or less depressed in patients in a PVS. It was repeatedly demonstrated in four patients, however, that the pain-related P250 could be transiently increased by preceding stimulation of the mesencephalic reticular formation. Furthermore, a persistent increase in the pain-related P250 was produced in these four patients following chronic DBS of the mesencephalic reticular formation or nonspecific thalamic nuclei for more than 6 months, and this was correlated with the clinical improvements. These results imply that responsiveness at the cortical level to pain is depressed in the PVS. It also appears that some fraction of the depression may, however, be functionally produced and potentially reversible.
This article was published in Pacing Clin Electrophysiol
and referenced in International Journal of Neurorehabilitation