Editor's Summary

2 August 2007

Brain activity revived


At present there is no reliable way of enhancing recovery from extended loss of consciousness in patients with traumatic brain injury. But recent evidence suggesting that a level of cerebral activity is preserved in some minimally conscious patients has raised interest in the topic. In a single subject study, Schiff et al. show that bilateral deep brain stimulation in the thalamus in a minimally conscious state following brain injury can increase behavioural responsiveness and function. The observations, made six years after the injury, challenge current thinking on the management of patients with severe brain injury.

NewsImplant boosts activity in injured brain

Deep-brain stimulation offers hope for minimally conscious patients.

Michael Hopkin

doi:10.1038/448522a

News and ViewsNeurology: An awakening

Neuroscientists and engineers are developing ways to help patients overcome paralysis and stroke. But what about mental function itself? Can medical intervention restore consciousness?

Michael N. Shadlen & Roozbeh Kiani

doi:10.1038/448539a

LetterBehavioural improvements with thalamic stimulation after severe traumatic brain injury

N. D. Schiff, J. T. Giacino, K. Kalmar, J. D. Victor, K. Baker, M. Gerber, B. Fritz, B. Eisenberg, J. O'Connor, E. J. Kobylarz, S. Farris, A. Machado, C. McCagg, F. Plum, J. J. Fins & A. R. Rezai

doi:10.1038/nature06041