Source of Hidden Consciousness in ‘Comatose’ Brain Injury Patients Found
Columbia researchers have identified brain injuries that may underlie hidden consciousness, a puzzling phenomenon in which brain-injured patients are unable to respond to simple commands, making them appear unconscious despite having some level of awareness.
“Our study suggests that patients with hidden consciousness can hear and comprehend verbal commands, but they cannot carry out those commands because of injuries in brain circuits that relay instructions from the brain to the muscles,” says study leader Jan Claassen, MD, associate professor of neurology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and chief of critical care and hospitalist neurology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
The findings could help physicians more quickly identify brain-injured patients who might have hidden consciousness and better predict which patients are likely to recover with rehabilitation. [read more]
Source: CUIMC Newsroom