A role for the default mode network in the bases of disorders of consciousness.
; Soddu, Andrea ; et al
in Annals of Neurology (2012), 72(3), 335-43
OBJECTIVE: Functional connectivity in the default mode network (DMN) is known to be reduced in patients with disorders of consciousness, to a different extent depending on their clinical severity ... [more ▼]
OBJECTIVE: Functional connectivity in the default mode network (DMN) is known to be reduced in patients with disorders of consciousness, to a different extent depending on their clinical severity. Nevertheless, the integrity of the structural architecture supporting this network and its relation with the exhibited functional disconnections are very poorly understood. We investigated the structural connectivity and white matter integrity of the DMN in patients with disorders of consciousness of varying clinical severity. METHODS: Fifty-two patients--19 in a vegetative state (VS), 27 in a minimally conscious state (MCS), and 6 emerging from a minimally conscious state (EMCS)--and 23 healthy volunteers participated in the study. Structural connectivity was assessed by means of probabilistic tractography, and the integrity of the resulting fibers was characterized by their mean fractional anisotropy values. RESULTS: Patients showed significant impairments in all of the pathways connecting cortical regions within this network, as well as the pathway connecting the posterior cingulate cortex/precuneus with the thalamus, relative to the healthy volunteers. Moreover, the structural integrity of this pathway, as well as that of those connecting the posterior areas of the network, was correlated with the patients' behavioral signs for awareness, being higher in EMCS patients than those in the upper and lower ranges of the MCS patients, and lowest in VS patients. INTERPRETATION: These results provide a possible neural substrate for the functional disconnection previously described in these patients, and reinforce the importance of the DMN in the genesis of awareness and the neural bases of its disorders. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 12 (2 ULg)
A new era of coma and consciousness science.
; ; Laureys, Steven
in Progress in Brain Research (2009), 177
In the past ten years, rapid technological developments in the field of neuroimaging have produced a cornucopia of new techniques for examining both the structure and function of the human brain in vivo ... [more ▼]
In the past ten years, rapid technological developments in the field of neuroimaging have produced a cornucopia of new techniques for examining both the structure and function of the human brain in vivo. In specialized centers, many of these methods are now being employed routinely in the assessment of patients diagnosed with disorders of consciousness, mapping patterns of residual function and dysfunction and helping to reduce diagnostic errors between related conditions such as the vegetative and minimally conscious states. Moreover, such efforts are beginning to provide important new prognostic indicators, helping to disentangle differences in outcome on the basis of a greater understanding of the underlying mechanisms responsible and providing information that will undoubtedly contribute to improved therapeutic choices in these challenging populations. Of course, these emerging technologies and the new information that they provide will bring new ethical challenges to this area and will have profound implications for clinical care and medical-legal decision-making in this population of patients. We review the most recent work in this area and suggest that the future integration of emerging neuroimaging techniques with existing clinical and behavioral methods of assessment will pave the way for new and innovative applications, both in basic neuroscience and in clinical practice. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 28 (2 ULg)
Brain function in coma, vegetative state, and related disorders
Laureys, Steven ; ;
in Lancet Neurology (2004), 3(9), 537-546
We review the nosological criteria and functional neuroanatomical basis for brain death, coma, vegetative state, minimally conscious state, and the locked-in state. Functional neuroimaging is providing ... [more ▼]
We review the nosological criteria and functional neuroanatomical basis for brain death, coma, vegetative state, minimally conscious state, and the locked-in state. Functional neuroimaging is providing new insights into cerebral activity in patients with severe brain damage. Measurements of cerebral metabolism and brain activations in response to sensory stimuli with PET, fMRI, and electrophysiological methods can provide information on the presence, degree, and location of any residual brain function. However, use of these techniques in people with severe brain damage is methodologically complex and needs careful quantitative analysis and interpretation. In addition, ethical frameworks to guide research in these patients must be further developed. At present, clinical examinations identify nosological distinctions needed for accurate diagnosis and prognosis. Neuroimaging techniques remain important tools for clinical research that will extend our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of these disorders. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 57 (0 ULg)