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The radical restructuring of brain networks in comatose patients
Date:12/4/2012

revealed (each represented by a different colour). Patients and healthy volunteers both have different models in their spatial location, representing radical alterations to the brain connections.

According to current hypotheses, consciousness disorders in persistently comatose patients could be linked to disconnection phenomena between specific cortical regions, particularly the precuneus. The results of this study also point in this direction. "From an overall perspective, the topology of brain connections resists well to traumatism by reorganising the most interconnected regions in the network. It therefore seems that comas may be linked to changes in the location of "hubs" among the brain networks" suggests Chantal Delon Martin, an Inserm researcher.

An assessment of brain injury and comas

Patients with brain injury may go through various clinically-defined states: vegetative state that is characterized by the preserved sleep-wake cycle (eyes opening spontaneously, autonomous breathing, etc.); minimally conscious state where patients have partially preserved environmental consciousness (eye movement capacity, reaction to stimulation); locked in syndrome where the patient is paralysed but conscious (communication using eyes); brain death when the coma is irreversible flat line EEG, no blood flow).

Coma (from the Greek κῶμα kma meaning "deep sleep") is one of the different states where self awareness and consciousness of the outside world is eradicated further to an accident (cerebral, cardiac, etc.). There are two coma phases: the "acute" coma phase (a few days after the accident) and the "chronic" phase (one month or more). Brain restructuring was observed by researchers during the "acute" phase, when it is not known which coma type the patient will develop.

Assessments of brain injuries in comatose patients are currently conducted through clinical examination, morphological MRI, evoked pote
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Contact: Inserm press office
presse@inserm.fr
INSERM (Institut national de la sant et de la recherche mdicale)
Source:Eurekalert

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