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Brain Inj. 2011;25(4):426-32. doi: 10.3109/02699052.2011.558045. Epub 2011 Feb 16.

Source imaging of QEEG as a method to detect awareness in a person in vegetative state.

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Brain Research Laboratories, Department of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine, 462 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA.



Assessment of awareness in patients with severe brain injury remains subjective, although patients with even limited awareness (e.g. minimal conscious state, MCS) have different prognoses and treatment than those in vegetative state (VS). Recently, task appropriate differential regional activation in VS has been reported using fMRI during mental imagery.


Demonstration of conscious awareness in reproducible differential EEG source localization images in a VS patient reflecting requested mental imagery was performed.


A VS patient (with re-test) and a normal control were requested to imagine singing and to mentally perform serial subtraction, while EEG was recorded. QEEG source localization was performed to identify regions of brain activation in response to tasks.


Replicable distinctive activation of brain areas appropriate for each task was seen in the VS patient and control. Frequency spectra shifted to beta, with significant source activation in regions including the bilateral anterior cingulate, insula, left caudate and dorsolateral pre-frontal cortex to singing and the putamen, insula, left pre-frontal cortex and right temporal gyrus to subtraction by 7's.


Results from this single case suggests the potential utility of QEEG source localization images to detect awareness in patients clinically diagnosed as being in VS. This indicates the possibility that EEG may serve as an important adjunct to the assessment of awareness in patients with disorders of consciousness in the clinical setting.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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