Hope for head injury patients14th November 2011
Scientists working in the UK and Belgium have worked out a communication method which can be used with vegetative patients.
The researchers, who published details of their work in The Lancet, said they had made measurements of electrical pulses in the brain to determine whether a patient was conscious or not.
The EEG method does not cause the patient pain and works by means of electrodes attached to the head.
The researchers carried out a trial which involved 16 patients at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge and the University Hospital of Liege in Belgium.
Every one of the patients involved were diagnosed as being in a vegetative state, where they were not aware of themselves or the world around them.
The patients were told to think about moving their toes or right hand. The researchers found that three of the patients could follow the instructions repeatedly.
The report's author, Professor Adrian Owen, from the Centre for Brain and Mind, University of Western Ontario, Canada said: "Many areas of the brain that activate when you perform a movement also activate when you imagine doing it."
"We know these three patients were conscious as they were able to respond repeatedly to the instructions we had given them. One of the patients was able to do it more than 100 times."
Professor Owen said the EEG tool was "exciting because it means we can get out into the community, take it to patients in nursing and care homes, and assess many more patients at the bedside to see if we can detect covert awareness".
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Tuesday 15th November 2011 @ 16:22
Hopefully, this new tool would eventually succeed to help those patients who are unconscious after having a brain injury. This study gives a new hope for those patients as well as to their families and love ones.
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Title: Hope for head injury patients
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 20326
Date Added: 14th Nov 2011