JAKARTA – Scientists at Columbia University in the United States have found a way to read brain activity in coma patients. Using advanced imaging techniques, they can detect hidden consciousness even when it is physically unresponsive.
It is hoped that these findings will help clinicians more easily identify motor cognitive dissociation (CMD), or states in which a person appears comatose and unresponsive. Knowing the level of hidden awareness is expected to help determine the right treatment.
FYI, CMD itself occurs in about 15-25% of people with brain injuries from head trauma, brain hemorrhage, or heart attacks. In these patients there is a delay between the instructions coming from the brain and the muscles needed to carry them out.
“Using a technique we developed called bi-clustering analysis, we were able to identify patterns of brain injury experienced by patients with CMD and different from patients without CMD,” said one of the researchers, Qi Shen, quoted by Scientific noticeFriday (18/8/2023).
In carrying out this new brain scanning technique, the researchers used electroencephalograms (EEGs) to visualize the brain activity of 107 study participants when asked to perform simple movements, 21 of whom were identified as having CMD.
This is then followed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and machine learning techniques to find patterns that match the CMD with specific brain regions and activities.
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