Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The use of magnetic resonance imaging improves the diagnosis of patients in a vegetative state

29.01.2009
A study led by researchers from Catalonia analyses the importance of the use of magnetic resonance imaging to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients in a vegetative state.

Until now these tests have not been performed in this type of patient. The results show activation of the auditory and linguistic areas of the brain despite the absence of observable behavioural responses.

The aim of this study is “to analyse the response of the brain to language in a group of traumatised patients in a vegetative state or in a minimally responsive state”. The patients were examined using the technique of functional magnetic resonance imaging”, explains Carme Junqué to SINC, who is the principal researcher of the project at the University of Barcelona (UB) in collaboration with the University Institute of Neurorehabilitation in Guttman.

To test the areas of the brain involved in language comprehension in these patients showing no evidence of motor response, the research team performed magnetic resonance imaging on seven patients, three of whom were in a vegetative state and four in a minimally responsive state.

In this study, which will continue until the end of 2010, four of the seven patients showed cerebral activation in response to sound comparable to activation found in 19 healthy volunteers. Amongst these, there was one patient in a vegetative state and another in a minimally responsive state who both showed an appropriate activation in the areas of the brain involved with language processing when listening to various extracts from stories.

Until now the routine clinical tests these patients underwent, were not capable of detecting whether or not there was a cerebral response to language. However, the researcher tells SINC “although they look or cry, we do not know whether or not the patient is processing the information, whether they do it automatically or whether they do it consciously.

The interesting thing about the results obtained with the magnetic resonance imaging is that the evidence of comprehension of the language stimulus means a better prognosis and a change in the way they are treated by relatives and therapists.

The results show that when some of these patients listen to extracts from stories, for example short sentences such as “a person is walking by the sea and is listening to the waves”, complex areas of the brain are activated, “which suggests that the patients possess areas of perception in the brain where the information arrives”, the researcher confirms to SINC.

Studies such as this one do not make it possible to conclude that the patients “understand” language in the way that healthy people do, but they do confirm that the patient’s neural networks still work to guarantee this complex cognitive function. “As a result, this can lead to a substantial change in the motivation of carers and can be very useful in choosing the rehabilitative interventions”, Junqué emphasises.

What happens after craneoencephalic trauma?

After serious craneoencephalic trauma the patient experiences a phase of coma. Following this they can recover consciousness or progress towards what we call “a vegetative state”, which is characterised by the preservation of sleep-wake cycles, the autonomic control of respiratory and cardiac functions, and the absence of any evidence of self-awareness or the surroundings.

Patients are incapable of reacting to stimulation intentionally and do not show any ability to communicate. A patient can survive for years in a vegetative state or recover partial consciousness progressing towards what is known as a “minimally responsive state”.

Until now, the diagnosis of these patients has been based on exhaustive clinical assessments of the patient’s spontaneous behaviour in order to assess whether the patient is capable of perceiving or interacting with their surroundings, namely, whether they have the preserved complex mental capabilities in the absence of motor response.

At the present time, there is an intense debate in the clinical, legal and ethical domains about the suitability of the assessment protocols used for the diagnosis of these patients and the possibility of implementing rehabilitation programmes more suited to individual differences.

SINC Team | alfa
Further information:
http://www.plataformasinc.es

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>