It opens a new window to help to evaluate patients with disorders of consciousness

Determining whether a person in a vegetative state*  is essential for their treatment, recovery and quality of life. Until now, these diagnoses have centered on an analysis of the brain. However, scientists at Inserm in France ( Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale) have recently devised another methodology: looking at the fluctuations in the heart of these types of patients when they are presented with an auditory stimulus published in the journal Annals of Neurology (American Neurological Academy).


The new methodology consists of measuring changes in the heartbeat of patients in a vegetative state, in response to an auditory stimulation


More specifically, the new methodology consists of measuring changes in the heartbeat of patients in a vegetative state, in response to an auditory stimulation. It has already been tested on 127 patients aged between 17 and 80 and has proven useful. When the authors analyzed the cardiac data from the 127 patients, they found that in those who were conscious or minimally conscious, the cardiac cycles could be modulated with auditory stimulation. The scientists also showed that this information can complement data obtained with the electroencephalogram (EEG): the combination of both tests (cardiac and EEG) can improve diagnosis of the conscious state. (Further information at Inserm).

(See HERE our recent article about a successful treatment for vegetative patient consciousness disorders)

*Vegetative state is the absence of responsiveness and awareness due to overwhelming dysfunction of the cerebral hemispheres, with sufficient sparing of the diencephalon and brain stem to preserve autonomic and motor reflexes and sleep-wake cycles (see more HERE).

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