Bedside EEG Test Shows Some TBI Patients Called Vegetative Are Aware
In the November 10, 2011 issue of The Lancet Dr. Damian Cruse and colleagues describe an inexpensive, bedside technique for ascertaining if a person who appears to be in a vegetative state from severe TBI has awareness or not. The research team asked 16 severe TBI patients diagnosed as vegetative and 12 healthy controls to imagine moving their right fingers and toes while attached to a bedside EEG machine. Three of the TBI patients (19%) showed changes in their EEG consistent with being aware and generating mental imagery in compliance with the task similar to what the healthy controls did. This is a breakthrough since until now the only equipment available to make this kind of determination was a functional MRI machine which is too expensive for most facilities to acquire.