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See detailMultimodal neuroimaging in patients with disorders of consciousness showing "functional hemispherectomy".
Bruno, Marie-Aurélie ULg; Fernandez-Espejo, D.; Lehembre, Remy ULg et al

in Progress in Brain Research (2011), 193

Beside behavioral assessment of patients with disorders of consciousness, neuroimaging modalities may offer objective paraclinical markers important for diagnosis and prognosis. They provide information ... [more ▼]

Beside behavioral assessment of patients with disorders of consciousness, neuroimaging modalities may offer objective paraclinical markers important for diagnosis and prognosis. They provide information on the structural location and extent of brain lesions (e.g., morphometric MRI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI-MRI) assessing structural connectivity) but also their functional impact (e.g., metabolic FDG-PET, hemodynamic fMRI, and EEG measurements obtained in "resting state" conditions). We here illustrate the role of multimodal imaging in severe brain injury, presenting a patient in unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (UWS; i.e., vegetative state, VS) and in a "fluctuating" minimally conscious state (MCS). In both cases, resting state FDG-PET, fMRI, and EEG showed a functionally preserved right hemisphere, while DTI showed underlying differences in structural connectivity highlighting the complementarities of these neuroimaging methods in the study of disorders of consciousness. [less ▲]

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See detailIdentifying the default-mode component in spatial IC analyses of patients with disorders of consciousness.
Soddu, Andrea ULg; Vanhaudenhuyse, Audrey ULg; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULg et al

in Human Brain Mapping (2011)

Objectives:Recent fMRI studies have shown that it is possible to reliably identify the default-mode network (DMN) in the absence of any task, by resting-state connectivity analyses in healthy volunteers ... [more ▼]

Objectives:Recent fMRI studies have shown that it is possible to reliably identify the default-mode network (DMN) in the absence of any task, by resting-state connectivity analyses in healthy volunteers. We here aimed to identify the DMN in the challenging patient population of disorders of consciousness encountered following coma. Experimental design: A spatial independent component analysis-based methodology permitted DMN assessment, decomposing connectivity in all its different sources either neuronal or artifactual. Three different selection criteria were introduced assessing anticorrelation-corrected connectivity with or without an automatic masking procedure and calculating connectivity scores encompassing both spatial and temporal properties. These three methods were validated on 10 healthy controls and applied to an independent group of 8 healthy controls and 11 severely brain-damaged patients [locked-in syndrome (n = 2), minimally conscious (n = 1), and vegetative state (n = 8)]. Principal observations: All vegetative patients showed fewer connections in the default-mode areas, when compared with controls, contrary to locked-in patients who showed near-normal connectivity. In the minimally conscious-state patient, only the two selection criteria considering both spatial and temporal properties were able to identify an intact right lateralized BOLD connectivity pattern, and metabolic PET data suggested its neuronal origin. Conclusions: When assessing resting-state connectivity in patients with disorders of consciousness, it is important to use a methodology excluding non-neuronal contributions caused by head motion, respiration, and heart rate artifacts encountered in all studied patients. Hum Brain Mapp, 2011. (c) 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [less ▲]

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See detailReaching across the abyss: recent advances in functional magnetic resonance imaging and their potential relevance to disorders of consciousness
Soddu, Andrea ULg; Boly, Mélanie ULg; Nir, Yval et al

in Progress in Brain Research (2009), 177

Disorders of consciousness (DOC) raise profound scientific, clinical, ethical, and philosophical issues. Growing knowledge on fundamental principles of brain organization in healthy individuals offers new ... [more ▼]

Disorders of consciousness (DOC) raise profound scientific, clinical, ethical, and philosophical issues. Growing knowledge on fundamental principles of brain organization in healthy individuals offers new opportunities for a better understanding of residual brain function in DOCs. We here discuss new perspectives derived from a recently proposed scheme of brain organization underlying consciousness in healthy individuals. In this scheme, thalamo-cortical networks can be divided into two, often antagonistic, global systems: (i) a system of externally oriented, sensory-motor networks (the "extrinsic" system); and (ii) a system of inward-oriented networks (the "intrinsic" or default system). According to this framework, four distinct mental states would be possible that could be relevant for understanding DOCs. In normal healthy volunteers and locked-in syndrome patients, a state of high functionality of both the extrinsic and intrinsic or default systems is expected--associated with full awareness of environment and self. In this case, mental imagery tasks combined with fMRI can be used to detect covert awareness in patients that are unable to communicate. <br /> <br />According to the framework, two complementary states of system imbalance are also possible, in which one system is in a hyperfunctional state, while the other is hypoactive. Extrinsic system hyperfunction is expected to lead to a state of total sensory-motor "absorption" or "lost self." In contrast, intrinsic or default system hyperfunction is expected to lead to a state of complete detachment from the external world. A state where both extrinsic and intrinsic systems are hypofunctional is predicted to lead to markedly impaired consciousness as seen in DOCs. Finally, we review the potential use of ultra-slow fluctuations in BOLD signal as a tool for assessing the functional integrity of extrinsic and intrinsic systems during "resting state" fMRI acquisitions. In particular, we discuss the potential provided by assessment of these slow spontaneous BOLD fluctuations as a novel tool in assessing the cognitive state and chances of recovery from brain pathologies underlying DOCs. [less ▲]

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