Research Reports - Brain activation by music in patients in a vegetative or minimally conscious state following diffuse brain injury

Brain Inj. 2014 Mar 21

Okumura Y(1), Asano Y, Takenaka S, Fukuyama S, Yonezawa S, Kasuya Y, Shinoda J

Abstract Objective: The aim of this study was to objectively evaluate the brain
activity potential of patients with impaired consciousness in a chronic stage of
diffuse brain injury (DBI) using functional MRI (fMRI) following music
stimulation (MS). Methods: Two patients in a minimally conscious state (MCS) and
five patients in a vegetative state (VS) due to severe DBI were enrolled along
with 21 healthy adults. This study examined the brain regions activated by music
and assessed topographical differences of the MS-activated brain among healthy
adults and these patients. Results: MS was shown to activate the bilateral
superior temporal gyri (STG) of both healthy adults and patients in an MCS. In
four of five patients in a VS, however, no significant activation in STG could be
induced by the same MS. The remaining patient in a VS displayed the same
MS-induced brain activation in STG as healthy adults and patients in an MCS and
this patient's status also improved to an MCS 4 months after the study.
Conclusions: The presence of STG activation by MS may predict a possible
improvement of patients in a VS to MCS and fMRI employing MS may be a useful
modality to objectively evaluate consciousness in these patients.

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