Primary objective: To reveal covert abilities in a minimally conscious state (MCS) through an innovative activation paradigm based on olfactory imagery. Research design: Case study. Methods and procedures: A patient in MCS was asked to ‘imagine an unpleasant odour’ or to ‘relax’ in response to the appearance on a screen of a downward pointing arrow or a cross, respectively. Electrophysiological responses to stimuli were investigated by means of an 8-channel EEG equipment and analysed using a specific threshold algorithm. The protocol was repeated for 10 sessions separated from each other by 2 weeks. Accuracy, defined as the number of successes with respect to the total number of trials, was used to evaluate the number of times in which the classification strategy was successful. Main outcomes and results: Analyses of accuracy showed that the patient was able to activate and to relax himself purposefully and that he optimized his performances with the number of sessions, probably as a result of training-related improvements. Conclusions: Subtle signs of consciousness may be under-estimated and need to be revealed through specific activation tasks. This paradigm may be useful to detect covert signs of consciousness, especially when patients are precluded from carrying out more complex cognitive tasks.

EEG-detected olfactory imagery to reveal covert consciousness in minimally conscious state

PISTOIA F;CAROLEI A;PETRACCA A;SACCO S;SPEZIALETTI M;PLACIDI G
2015-01-01

Abstract

Primary objective: To reveal covert abilities in a minimally conscious state (MCS) through an innovative activation paradigm based on olfactory imagery. Research design: Case study. Methods and procedures: A patient in MCS was asked to ‘imagine an unpleasant odour’ or to ‘relax’ in response to the appearance on a screen of a downward pointing arrow or a cross, respectively. Electrophysiological responses to stimuli were investigated by means of an 8-channel EEG equipment and analysed using a specific threshold algorithm. The protocol was repeated for 10 sessions separated from each other by 2 weeks. Accuracy, defined as the number of successes with respect to the total number of trials, was used to evaluate the number of times in which the classification strategy was successful. Main outcomes and results: Analyses of accuracy showed that the patient was able to activate and to relax himself purposefully and that he optimized his performances with the number of sessions, probably as a result of training-related improvements. Conclusions: Subtle signs of consciousness may be under-estimated and need to be revealed through specific activation tasks. This paradigm may be useful to detect covert signs of consciousness, especially when patients are precluded from carrying out more complex cognitive tasks.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/91890
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