Probing command following in patients with disorders of consciousness using a brain-computer interface.
; Noirhomme, Quentin ; et al
in Clinical Neurophysiology (2013), 124(1), 101-6
OBJECTIVE: To determine if brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) could serve as supportive tools for detecting consciousness in patients with disorders of consciousness by detecting response to command and ... [more ▼]
OBJECTIVE: To determine if brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) could serve as supportive tools for detecting consciousness in patients with disorders of consciousness by detecting response to command and communication. METHODS: We tested a 4-choice auditory oddball EEG-BCI paradigm on 16 healthy subjects and 18 patients in a vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome, in a minimally conscious state (MCS), and in locked-in syndrome (LIS). Subjects were exposed to 4 training trials and 10 -12 questions. RESULTS: Thirteen healthy subjects and one LIS patient were able to communicate using the BCI. Four of those did not present with a P3. One MCS patient showed command following with the BCI while no behavioral response could be detected at bedside. All other patients did not show any response to command and could not communicate with the BCI. CONCLUSION: The present study provides evidence that EEG based BCI can detect command following in patients with altered states of consciousness and functional communication in patients with locked-in syndrome. However, BCI approaches have to be simplified to increase sensitivity. SIGNIFICANCE: For some patients without any clinical sign of consciousness, a BCI might bear the potential to employ a "yes-no" spelling device offering the hope of functional interactive communication. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 103 (11 ULg)
Pain perception in disorders of consciousness: Neuroscience, clinical care, and ethics in dialogue
Demertzi, Athina ; ; Bruno, Marie-Aurélie et al
in Neuroethics (2012)
Pain, suffering and positive emotions in patients in vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (VS/UWS) and minimally conscious states (MCS) pose clinical and ethical challenges. Clinically, we ... [more ▼]
Pain, suffering and positive emotions in patients in vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (VS/UWS) and minimally conscious states (MCS) pose clinical and ethical challenges. Clinically, we evaluate behavioural responses after painful stimulation and also emotionally-contingent behaviours (e.g., smiling). Using stimuli with emotional valence, neuroimaging and electrophysiology technologies can detect subclinical remnants of preserved capacities for pain which might influence decisions about treatment limitation. To date, no data exist as to how healthcare providers think about end-of-life options (e.g., withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration) in the presence or absence of pain in non-communicative patients. Here, we aimed to better clarify this issue by re-analyzing previously published data on pain perception (Prog Brain Res 2009 177, 329–38) and end-of-life decisions (J Neurol 2010 258, 1058–65) in patients with disorders of consciousness. In a sample of 2259 European healthcare professionals we found that, for VS/UWS more respondents agreed with treatment withdrawal when they considered that VS/UWS patients did not feel pain (77%) as compared to those who thought VS/UWS did feel pain (59%). This interaction was influenced by religiosity and professional background. For MCS, end-of-life attitudes were not influenced by opinions on pain perception. Within a contemporary ethical context we discuss (1) the evolving scientific understandings of pain perception and their relationship to existing clinical and ethical guidelines; (2) the discrepancies of attitudes within (and between) healthcare providers and their consequences for treatment approaches, and (3) the implicit but complex relationship between pain perception and attitudes toward life-sustaining treatments. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 195 (12 ULg)
Corticospinal excitability in patients with anoxic, traumatic, and non-traumatic diffuse brain injury.
; ; Gosseries, Olivia et al
in Brain Stimulation (2012)
BACKGROUND: Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) have been frequently used to explore changes in motor cortex excitability in stroke and traumatic brain injury, while the extent of motor cortex ... [more ▼]
BACKGROUND: Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) have been frequently used to explore changes in motor cortex excitability in stroke and traumatic brain injury, while the extent of motor cortex reorganization in patients with diffuse non-traumatic brain injury remains largely unknown. OBJECTIVE/HYPOTHESIS: It was hypothesized that the motor cortex excitability would be decreased and would correlate to the severity of brain injury and level of functioning in patients with anoxic, traumatic, and non-traumatic diffuse brain injury. METHODS: TMS was applied to primary motor cortices of 19 patients with brain injury (5 traumatic and 14 non-traumatic causes; on average four months after insult), and 9 healthy controls. The test parameters included resting motor threshold (RMT), short intracortical inhibition (SICI), intracortical facilitation (ICF), and short latency afferent inhibition (SAI). Excitability parameters were correlated to the severity of brain injury measured with Glasgow Coma Scale and the level of functioning assessed using the Ranchos Los Amigos Levels of Cognitive Functioning Assessment Scale and Functional Independence Measure. RESULTS: The patient group revealed a significantly decreased SICI and SAI compared to healthy controls with the amount of SICI correlated significantly to the severity of brain injury. Other electrophysiological parameters did not differ between the groups and did not exhibit any significant relationship with clinical functional scores. CONCLUSIONS: The present study demonstrated the impairment of the cortical inhibitory circuits in patients with brain injury of traumatic and non-traumatic aetiology. Moreover, the significant correlation was found between the amount of SICI and the severity of brain injury. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 11 (0 ULg)
Electrophysiological investigations of brain function in coma, vegetative and minimally conscious patients.
Lehembre, Remy ; Gosseries, Olivia ; et al
in Archives Italiennes de Biologie (2012), 150(2-3), 122-39
Electroencephalographic activity in the context of disorders of consciousness is a swiss knife like tool that can evaluate different aspects of cognitive residual function, detect consciousness and ... [more ▼]
Electroencephalographic activity in the context of disorders of consciousness is a swiss knife like tool that can evaluate different aspects of cognitive residual function, detect consciousness and provide a mean to communicate with the outside world without using muscular channels. Standard recordings in the neurological department offer a first global view of the electrogenesis of a patient and can spot abnormal epileptiform activity and therefore guide treatment. Although visual patterns have a prognosis value, they are not sufficient to provide a diagnosis between vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (VS/UWS) and minimally conscious state (MCS) patients. Quantitative electroencephalography (qEEG) processes the data and retrieves features, not visible on the raw traces, which can then be classified. Current results using qEEG show that MCS can be differentiated from VS/UWS patients at the group level. Event Related Potentials (ERP) are triggered by varying stimuli and reflect the time course of information processing related to the stimuli from low-level peripheral receptive structures to high-order associative cortices. It is hence possible to assess auditory, visual, or emotive pathways. Different stimuli elicit positive or negative components with different time signatures. The presence of these components when observed in passive paradigms is usually a sign of good prognosis but it cannot differentiate VS/UWS and MCS patients. Recently, researchers have developed active paradigms showing that the amplitude of the component is modulated when the subject's attention is focused on a task during stimulus presentation. Hence significant differences between ERPs of a patient in a passive compared to an active paradigm can be a proof of consciousness. An EEG-based brain-computer interface (BCI) can then be tested to provide the patient with a communication tool. BCIs have considerably improved the past two decades. However they are not easily adaptable to comatose patients as they can have visual or auditory impairments or different lesions affecting their EEG signal. Future progress will require large databases of resting state-EEG and ERPs experiment of patients of different etiologies. This will allow the identification of specific patterns related to the diagnostic of consciousness. Standardized procedures in the use of BCIs will also be needed to find the most suited technique for each individual patient. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 27 (0 ULg)
Metabolic activity in external and internal awareness networks in severely brain-damaged patients.
Thibaut, Aurore ; Bruno, Marie-Aurélie ; Chatelle, Camille et al
in Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine (2012), 44(6), 487-94
OBJECTIVE: An extrinsic cerebral network (encompassing lateral frontoparietal cortices) related to external/sensory awareness and an intrinsic midline network related to internal/self-awareness have been ... [more ▼]
OBJECTIVE: An extrinsic cerebral network (encompassing lateral frontoparietal cortices) related to external/sensory awareness and an intrinsic midline network related to internal/self-awareness have been identified recently. This study measured brain metabolism in both networks in patients with severe brain damage. DESIGN: Prospective [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography and Coma Recovery Scale-Revised assessments in a university hospital setting. SUBJECTS: Healthy volunteers and patients in vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (VS/UWS), minimally conscious state (MCS), emergence from MCS (EMCS), and locked-in syndrome (LIS). RESULTS: A total of 70 patients were included in the study: 24 VS/UWS, 28 MCS, 10 EMCS, 8 LIS and 39 age-matched controls. VS/UWS showed metabolic dysfunction in extrinsic and intrinsic networks and thalami. MCS showed dysfunction mostly in intrinsic network and thalami. EMCS showed impairment in posterior cingulate/retrosplenial cortices. LIS showed dysfunction only in infratentorial regions. Coma Recovery Scale-Revised total scores correlated with metabolic activity in both extrinsic and part of the intrinsic network and thalami. CONCLUSION: Progressive recovery of extrinsic and intrinsic awareness network activity was observed in severely brain-damaged patients, ranging from VS/UWS, MCS, EMCS to LIS. The predominance of intrinsic network impairment in MCS could reflect altered internal/self-awareness in these patients, which is difficult to quantify at the bedside. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 147 (46 ULg)
Prognosis of patients with altered states of consciousness
Bruno, Marie-Aurélie ; ; Vanhaudenhuyse, Audrey et al
in Schnakers, Caroline; Laureys, Steven (Eds.) Coma and disorders of consciousness (2012)Detailed reference viewed: 25 (2 ULg)
Functional neuroanatomy underlying the clinical subcategorization of minimally conscious state patients.
Bruno, Marie-Aurélie ; Majerus, Steve ; Boly, Mélanie et al
in Journal of Neurology (2012), 259(6), 1087-98
Patients in a minimally conscious state (MCS) show restricted signs of awareness but are unable to communicate. We assessed cerebral glucose metabolism in MCS patients and tested the hypothesis that this ... [more ▼]
Patients in a minimally conscious state (MCS) show restricted signs of awareness but are unable to communicate. We assessed cerebral glucose metabolism in MCS patients and tested the hypothesis that this entity can be subcategorized into MCS- (i.e., patients only showing nonreflex behavior such as visual pursuit, localization of noxious stimulation and/or contingent behavior) and MCS+ (i.e., patients showing command following).Patterns of cerebral glucose metabolism were studied using [(18)F]-fluorodeoxyglucose-PET in 39 healthy volunteers (aged 46 +/- 18 years) and 27 MCS patients of whom 13 were MCS- (aged 49 +/- 19 years; 4 traumatic; 21 +/- 23 months post injury) and 14 MCS+ (aged 43 +/- 19 years; 5 traumatic; 19 +/- 26 months post injury). Results were thresholded for significance at false discovery rate corrected p < 0.05.We observed a metabolic impairment in a bilateral subcortical (thalamus and caudate) and cortical (fronto-temporo-parietal) network in nontraumatic and traumatic MCS patients. Compared to MCS-, patients in MCS+ showed higher cerebral metabolism in left-sided cortical areas encompassing the language network, premotor, presupplementary motor, and sensorimotor cortices. A functional connectivity study showed that Broca's region was disconnected from the rest of the language network, mesiofrontal and cerebellar areas in MCS- as compared to MCS+ patients.The proposed subcategorization of MCS based on the presence or absence of command following showed a different functional neuroanatomy. MCS- is characterized by preserved right hemispheric cortical metabolism interpreted as evidence of residual sensory consciousness. MCS+ patients showed preserved metabolism and functional connectivity in language networks arguably reflecting some additional higher order or extended consciousness albeit devoid of clinical verbal or nonverbal expression. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 83 (10 ULg)
Recovery of cortical effective connectivity and recovery of consciousness in vegetative patients.
; Gosseries, Olivia ; et al
in Brain : A Journal of Neurology (2012), 135(Pt 4), 1308-20
Patients surviving severe brain injury may regain consciousness without recovering their ability to understand, move and communicate. Recently, electrophysiological and neuroimaging approaches, employing ... [more ▼]
Patients surviving severe brain injury may regain consciousness without recovering their ability to understand, move and communicate. Recently, electrophysiological and neuroimaging approaches, employing simple sensory stimulations or verbal commands, have proven useful in detecting higher order processing and, in some cases, in establishing some degree of communication in brain-injured subjects with severe impairment of motor function. To complement these approaches, it would be useful to develop methods to detect recovery of consciousness in ways that do not depend on the integrity of sensory pathways or on the subject's ability to comprehend or carry out instructions. As suggested by theoretical and experimental work, a key requirement for consciousness is that multiple, specialized cortical areas can engage in rapid causal interactions (effective connectivity). Here, we employ transcranial magnetic stimulation together with high-density electroencephalography to evaluate effective connectivity at the bedside of severely brain injured, non-communicating subjects. In patients in a vegetative state, who were open-eyed, behaviourally awake but unresponsive, transcranial magnetic stimulation triggered a simple, local response indicating a breakdown of effective connectivity, similar to the one previously observed in unconscious sleeping or anaesthetized subjects. In contrast, in minimally conscious patients, who showed fluctuating signs of non-reflexive behaviour, transcranial magnetic stimulation invariably triggered complex activations that sequentially involved distant cortical areas ipsi- and contralateral to the site of stimulation, similar to activations we recorded in locked-in, conscious patients. Longitudinal measurements performed in patients who gradually recovered consciousness revealed that this clear-cut change in effective connectivity could occur at an early stage, before reliable communication was established with the subject and before the spontaneous electroencephalogram showed significant modifications. Measurements of effective connectivity by means of transcranial magnetic stimulation combined with electroencephalography can be performed at the bedside while by-passing subcortical afferent and efferent pathways, and without requiring active participation of subjects or language comprehension; hence, they offer an effective way to detect and track recovery of consciousness in brain-injured patients who are unable to exchange information with the external environment. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 55 (2 ULg)
Brain connectivity in disorders of consciousness.
Boly, Mélanie ; ; et al
in Brain connectivity (2012), 2(1), 1-10
The last 10 years witnessed a considerable increase in our knowledge of brain function in survivors to severe brain injuries with disorders of consciousness (DOC). At the same time, a growing interest ... [more ▼]
The last 10 years witnessed a considerable increase in our knowledge of brain function in survivors to severe brain injuries with disorders of consciousness (DOC). At the same time, a growing interest developed for the use of functional neuroimaging as a new diagnostic tool in these patients. In this context, particular attention has been devoted to connectivity studies-as these, more than measures of brain metabolism, may be more appropriate to capture the dynamics of large populations of neurons. Here, we will review the pros and cons of various connectivity methods as potential diagnostic tools in brain-damaged patients with DOC. We will also discuss the relevance of the study of the level versus the contents of consciousness in this context. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 37 (1 ULg)
Burnout in healthcare workers managing chronic patients with disorders of consciousness.
Gosseries, Olivia ; Demertzi, Athina ; et al
in Brain Injury (2012)
Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the presence of burnout among professional caregivers managing patients with severe brain injury recovering from coma and working in neurorehabilitation ... [more ▼]
Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the presence of burnout among professional caregivers managing patients with severe brain injury recovering from coma and working in neurorehabilitation centres or nursing homes. Methods: The Maslach Burnout Inventory was sent to 40 centres involved in the Belgian federal network for the care of vegetative and minimally conscious patients. The following demographic data were also collected: age, gender, profession, expertise in the field, amount of time spent with patients and working place. Results: Out of 1068 questionnaires sent, 568 were collected (53% response rate). Forty-five were excluded due to missing data. From the 523 healthcare workers, 18% (n = 93) presented a burnout, 33% (n = 171) showed emotional exhaustion and 36% (n = 186) had a depersonalization. Profession (i.e. nurse/nursing assistants), working place (i.e. nursing home) and the amount of time spent with patients were associated with burnout. The logistic regression showed that profession was nevertheless the strongest variable linked to burnout. Conclusions: According to this study, a significant percentage of professional caregivers and particularly nurses taking care of patients in a vegetative state and in a minimally conscious state suffered from burnout. Prevention of burnout symptoms among caregivers is crucial and is expected to promote more efficient medical care of these challenging patients. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 19 (1 ULg)
Feasibility of oral feeding in patients with disorders of consciousness
Maudoux, Audrey ; BREUSKIN, Ingrid ; Gosseries, Olivia et al
in Schnakers, Caroline; Laureys, Steven (Eds.) Coma and Disorders of Consciousness (2012)Detailed reference viewed: 29 (7 ULg)
Désordres de la conscience : aspects éthiques.
Demertzi, Athina ; Gosseries, Olivia ; Bruno, Marie-Aurélie et al
in Schnakers, Caroline; LAUREYS, Steven (Eds.) Comas et états de conscience altérée (2011)
L’apparition de la ventilation mécanique dans les années cinquante et le développement des soins intensifs dans les années soixante ont permis à de nombreux patients de survivre à de graves lésions ... [more ▼]
L’apparition de la ventilation mécanique dans les années cinquante et le développement des soins intensifs dans les années soixante ont permis à de nombreux patients de survivre à de graves lésions cérébrales. Bien que ces avancées technologiques soient étonnantes, de nombreux patients vont alors se retrouver dans des états cliniques critiques peu rencontrés auparavant (1). L’impact éthique de ces états d’inconscience se reflète lors de la rédaction des premiers comités de bioéthique et lors de l’apparition du concept d’acharnement thérapeutique. En 1968, le comité spécial de l’école médicale de Harvard a publié un article essentiel redéfinissant la mort comme étant un coma irréversible et une perte permanente de toutes les fonctions cérébrales (2). Le comité, composé de dix médecins, d’un théologien, d’un avocat et d’un historien des sciences, a débattu des questions médicales, juridiques et sociétales quant à la prise en charge des patients en mort cérébrale. Nous donnerons ici un bref aperçu des principales questions éthiques liées à la notion de conscience et à la prise en charge médicale des patients atteints de troubles de la conscience (TDC) tels que le coma, l’état végétatif et l’état de conscience minimale. Nous mettrons également l’accent sur le problème de la gestion de la douleur et des prises de décision en fin de vie. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 61 (16 ULg)
Hypnotic modulation of resting state fMRI default mode and extrinsic network connectivity
Demertzi, Athina ; Soddu, Andrea ; FAYMONVILLE, Marie-Elisabeth et al
in Progress in Brain Research (2011), 193
Resting state fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) acquisitions are characterized by low-frequency spontaneous activity in a default mode network (encompassing medial brain areas and linked to ... [more ▼]
Resting state fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) acquisitions are characterized by low-frequency spontaneous activity in a default mode network (encompassing medial brain areas and linked to self-related processes) and an anticorrelated “extrinsic” system (encompassing lateral frontoparietal areas and modulated via external sensory stimulation). In order to better determine the functional contribution of these networks to conscious awareness, we here sought to transiently modulate their relationship by means of hypnosis. We used independent component analysis (ICA) on resting state fMRI acquisitions during normal wakefulness, under hypnotic state, and during a control condition of autobiographical mental imagery. As compared to mental imagery, hypnosis-induced modulation of resting state fMRI networks resulted in a reduced “extrinsic” lateral frontoparietal cortical connectivity, possibly reflecting a decreased sensory awareness. The default mode network showed an increased connectivity in bilateral angular and middle frontal gyri, whereas its posterior midline and parahippocampal structures decreased their connectivity during hypnosis, supposedly related to an altered “self” awareness and posthypnotic amnesia. In our view, fMRI resting state studies of physiological (e.g., sleep or hypnosis), pharmacological (e.g., sedation or anesthesia), and pathological modulation (e.g., coma or related states) of “intrinsic” default mode and anticorrelated “extrinsic” sensory networks, and their interaction with other cerebral networks, will further improve our understanding of the neural correlates of subjective awareness. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 100 (20 ULg)
Automated EEG entropy measurements in coma, vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome and minimally conscious state
Gosseries, Olivia ; Schnakers, Caroline ; LEDOUX, Didier et al
in Functional Neurology (2011)
Monitoring the level of consciousness in brain injured patients with disorders of consciousness is crucial as it provides diagnostic and prognostic information. Behavioral assessment remains the gold ... [more ▼]
Monitoring the level of consciousness in brain injured patients with disorders of consciousness is crucial as it provides diagnostic and prognostic information. Behavioral assessment remains the gold standard for assessing consciousness but previous studies have shown a high rate of misdiagnosis. This study aimed to investigate the usefulness of electroencephalography (EEG) entropy measurements in differentiating unconscious (coma or vegetative) from minimally conscious patients. Left fronto-temporal EEG recordings (10-minute resting state epochs) were prospectively obtained in 56 patients and 16 age-matched healthy volunteers. Patients were assessed in the acute (≤1 month post-injury;n=29) or chronic (>1 month post-injury; n=27) stage. The etiology was traumatic in 23 patients. Automated online EEG entropy calculations (providing an arbitrary value ranging from 0 to 91) were compared with behavioral assessments (Coma Recovery Scale-Revised) and outcome. EEG entropy correlated with Coma Recovery Scale total scores (r=0.49). Mean EEG entropy values were higher in minimally conscious (73±19; mean and standard deviation) than in vegetative/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome patients (45±28). Receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed an entropy cut-off value of 52 differentiating acute unconscious from minimally conscious patients (sensitivity 89% and specificity 90%). In chronic patients, entropy measurements offered no reliable diagnostic information. EEG entropy measurements did not allow prediction of outcome. User-independent time-frequency balanced spectral EEG entropy measurements seem to constitute an interesting diagnostic – albeit not prognostic – tool for assessing neural network complexity in disorders of consciousness in the acute setting. Future studies are needed before using this tool in routine clinical practice, and these should seek to improve automated EEG quantification paradigms in order to reduce the remaining false negative and false positive findings. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 152 (9 ULg)
Neural plasticity lessons from disorders of consciousness
Demertzi, Athina ; Schnakers, Caroline ; Soddu, Andrea et al
in Frontiers in Psychology [=FPSYG] (2011), 1
Communication and intentional behavior are supported by the brain?s integrity at a structural and a functional level. When widespread loss of cerebral connectivity is brought about as a result of a severe ... [more ▼]
Communication and intentional behavior are supported by the brain?s integrity at a structural and a functional level. When widespread loss of cerebral connectivity is brought about as a result of a severe brain injury, in many cases patients are not capable of conscious interactive behavior and are said to suffer from disorders of consciousness (e.g., coma, vegetative state /unresponsive wakefulness syndrome, minimally conscious states). This lesion paradigm has offered not only clinical insights, as how to improve diagnosis, prognosis and treatment, but also put forward scientific opportunities to study the brain?s plastic abilities. We here review interventional and observational studies performed in severely brain-injured patients with regards to recovery of consciousness. The study of the recovered conscious brain (spontaneous and/or after surgical or pharmacologic interventions), suggests a link between some specific brain areas and the capacity of the brain to sustain conscious experience, challenging at the same time the notion of fixed temporal boundaries in rehabilitative processes. Altered functional connectivity, cerebral structural reorganization as well as behavioral amelioration after invasive treatments will be discussed as the main indices for plasticity in these challenging patients. The study of patients with chronic disorders of consciousness may, thus, provide further insights not only at a clinical level (i.e., medical management and rehabilitation) but also from a scientific-theoretical perspective (i.e., the brain?s plastic abilities and the pursuit of the neural correlate of consciousness). [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 65 (3 ULg)
Imagerie fonctionnelle et états de conscience altérée
Vanhaudenhuyse, Audrey ; Boly, Mélanie ; Bruno, Marie-Aurélie et al
in Schnakers, Caroline; LAUREYS, Steven (Eds.) Coma et états de conscience altérée (2011)Detailed reference viewed: 11 (0 ULg)
La neuro-imagerie: un outil diagnostique des etats de conscience alteree.
Thonnard, Marie ; Boly, Mélanie ; et al
in Medecine Sciences : M/S (2011), 27(1), 77-81
Vegetative and minimally conscious states diagnosis remained a major clinical challenge. New paradigms such as measurement of the global cerebral metabolism, the structural and functional integrity of ... [more ▼]
Vegetative and minimally conscious states diagnosis remained a major clinical challenge. New paradigms such as measurement of the global cerebral metabolism, the structural and functional integrity of fronto-parietal network, or the spontaneous activity in resting state have been shown to be helpful to disentangle vegetative from minimally conscious patients. Active neuroimagery paradigms also allow detecting voluntary and conscious activity in non-communicative patients. The implementation of these methods in clinical routine could permit to reduce the current high rate of misdiagnosis (40%). [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 7 (1 ULg)