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Nerve Stimulation Restores Consciousness in Patient in Vegetative State for 15 Years

Scientists in France are reporting positive results with the use of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) to restore consciousness in a patient who had been in a vegetative state for 15 years. The outcome challenges the belief that disorders of consciousness that persist beyond 12 months are irreversible.

 

Nerve Stimulation Restores Consciousness in Patient in Vegetative State for 15 Years

The team performed behavioural electroencephalographic (EEG) and 18F-FDG PET on the 35-year-old male patient before and after implantation of a vagus nerve stimulator. Stimulation was gradually increased to a maximum intensity of 1.5mA, and its effects were monitored over six months.

After one month of stimulation, the patient's attention, movements and brain activity significantly improved. Scores on the Coma Recovery Scale-Revised (CRS-R) test also improved as stimulation increased. EEG data comparing the patient’s resting state pre- and post- stimulation revealed a significant increase in theta band. PET scan recordings showed increases in metabolic activity in both cortical and subcortical regions.

Writing in Current Biology, the authors said the case demonstrates the therapeutic potential of VNS to modulate large-scale human brain activity and alleviate disorders of consciousness.

A large collaborative study is now planned to confirm and extend the therapeutic potential of VNS for patients in a vegetative or minimally conscious state.

 

Reference

Corazzol M,  Lio G, Lefevre, A et al. Restoring consciousness with vagus nerve stimulation. Curr. Biol. 25 September 2017. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.07.060

 

Source: univadis

 

 

Nerve Stimulation Restores Consciousness in Patient in Vegetative State for 15 Years

 
 
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