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 Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>