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See detailProbing command following in patients with disorders of consciousness using a brain-computer interface.
Lule, Dorothee; Noirhomme, Quentin ULg; Kleih, Sonja C. 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 ▲]

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See detailBrain-Computer Interface: A Communication Aid?
Chatelle, Camille ULg; Lugo, zulay; Noirhomme, Quentin ULg et al

in Schnakers, Caroline; Laureys, Steven (Eds.) Coma and Disorders of Consciousness (2012)

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See detailProbing command following in patients with disorders of consciousness using a brain-computer interface
Noirhomme, Quentin ULg; Chatelle, Camille ULg; Kleih, Sonja et al

Conference (2010, June)

Objective: In the recovery from coma, the acquisition of command following represents an important milestone, indicating emergence from the vegetative state. In some patients, recovery of consciousness ... [more ▼]

Objective: In the recovery from coma, the acquisition of command following represents an important milestone, indicating emergence from the vegetative state. In some patients, recovery of consciousness may precede motor recovery. Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) might permit these patients to show non-motor dependent signs of awareness and in a next step might enable communication. This study aimed at testing to what extent an EEG-based BCI could help detecting signs of awareness and communication in disorders of consciousness. Methods: We studied 13 patients with a minimally conscious state (MCS, 5 TBI – 8 anoxic, mean time post injury 70±109 months; mean age 42 ± 21) and 16 healthy controls (aged 45±19). Patients were evaluated using the Coma Recovery Scale Revised. 16-Channel EEG was recorded using a g.tec USBAmp amplifier. An auditory P300 four choice speller paradigm based on the BCI2000 system was used. Subjects were asked to answer yes or no to simple questions by paying attention to one out of four auditorily presented stimuli (‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘stop’, ‘go’). A trial constituted of 15 presentations of each sound the order of presentation being randomized. After a training session, patients and healthy subjects were required to answer 10 to 12 questions. A stepwise linear discriminant analysis based on the training session was used to classify the data. Offline, all training and testing trials were pooled and a leave-one-out approach was used to classify the data. Results: Healthy subjects presented a mean correct response rate of 73% online and 93% offline. Three MCS patients had a correct response rate of ≥50% offline (10, 18, 0% online and 50, 53, 57% offline). Two of these three patients did not show any command following at the bedside. The 10 remaining MCS cases showed online and offline correct answers <50% (mean 33±9% online and 25±13% offline). Conclusion: Our auditory P300-based BCI permitted functional interactive communication in 15/16 controls (online) and in all offline. Our data obtained in patients with disorders of consciousness demonstrate the potential clinical usefulness of the technique following coma but also show lower accuracy in patients as compared to healthy volunteers. This might be due to fluctuating attentional levels and exhaustibility in the MCS and to the suboptimal EEG recording quality due to movement, ocular and respiration artifacts in these challenging patients. [less ▲]

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See detailLife can be worth living in locked-in syndrome
Lule, Dorothee; Zickler, K.; Hacker, S. et al

in Progress in Brain Research (2009), 177

The locked-in syndrome (LIS) describes patients who are awake and conscious but severely deefferented leaving the patient in a state of almost complete immobility and loss of verbal communication. The ... [more ▼]

The locked-in syndrome (LIS) describes patients who are awake and conscious but severely deefferented leaving the patient in a state of almost complete immobility and loss of verbal communication. The etiology ranges from acute (e.g., brainstem stroke, which is the most frequent cause of LIS) to chronic causes (e.g., amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; ALS). In this article we review and present new data on the psychosocial adjustment to LIS. We refer to quality of life (QoL) and the degree of depressive symptoms as a measure of psychosocial adjustment. Various studies suggest that despite their extreme motor impairment, a significant number of LIS patients maintain a good QoL that seems unrelated to their state of physical functioning. Likewise, depression is not predicted by the physical state of the patients. A successful psychological adjustment to the disease was shown to be related to problem-oriented coping strategies, like seeking for information, and emotional coping strategies like denial--the latter may, nevertheless, vary with disease stage. Perceived social support seems to be the strongest predictor of psychosocial adjustment. QoL in LIS patients is often in the same range as in age-matched healthy individuals. Interestingly, there is evidence that significant others, like primary caregivers or spouses, rate LIS patients' QoL significantly lower than the patients themselves. With regard to depressed mood, ALS patients without symptoms focus significantly more often on internal factors that can be retained in the course of the disease contrary to patients with depressive symptoms who preferably name external factors as very important, such as health, which will degrade in the course of the disease. Typically, ALS patients with a higher degree of depressive symptoms experience significantly less "very pleasant" situations. The herein presented data strongly question the assumption among doctors, health-care workers, lay persons, and politicians that severe motor disability necessarily is intolerable and leads to end-of-life decisions or euthanasia. Existing evidence supports that biased clinicians provide less-aggressive medical treatment in LIS patients. Thus, psychological treatment for depression, effective strategies for coping with the disease, and support concerning the maintenance of the social network are needed to cope with the disease. Novel communication devices and assistive technology now offers an increasing number of LIS patients to resume a meaningful life and an active role in society. [less ▲]

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