Author(s): Lechinger J, ChwalaSchlegel N, Fellinger R, Donis J, Michitsch G,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: In patients suffering from Disorders of Consciousness (DOC) electrophysiological recordings at bedside could serve as a complimentary and economical tool to improve diagnosis. We utilized a motor observation and imagination paradigm to gain new insights on preserved cognitive processing in DOC. METHODS: EEG brain oscillations were analyzed in 10 VS/UWS (Vegetative State/Unresponsive Wakefulness Syndrome) patients and 7 MCS (Minimally Conscious State) patients and 21 controls during observation and imagination of a grasping movement and group statistics were conducted. RESULTS: While control subjects showed a typical desynchronization at 8-15Hz during observation of a movement, MCS patients presented an analogue response at 8-10Hz, but exhibited a synchronization at 12-15Hz. The VS group did not show a systematic response. Imagery-related activation was only sustained for 1500ms even in control subjects, therefore, limiting conclusions regarding the ability to follow an instruction. Furthermore, a clinically diagnosed VS patient exhibited EEG responses indicative for MCS. CONCLUSION: Results indicate that MCS patients are still able to process an observed motor behavior on a basic sensory and perhaps even pre-motoric level, but seem not to be capable of "mirroring" the movement like healthy participants. SIGNIFICANCE: "Real-world" tasks as presented here carry the potential to identify residual cognitive functioning in DOC patients and may ultimately help to lower misdiagnosis rates. Copyright © 2012 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Clin Neurophysiol
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy