Bedside assessment in disorders of consciousness

Key Contact: Dr Srivas Chennu

This project will develop a suite of hierarchical high-density EEG-based test for measuring residual brain activity at the patient’s bedside to predict cognitive function independent of behavioural responses.

Over the past decades, effectiveness of neurointensive care for sustaining life in Disorders of Consciousness has significantly improved. However, relatively little is understood about the cognitive underpinnings of these profound neurological disorders. Accurate behavioural diagnosis and prognosis have been challenging, and the likelihood of misdiagnosis is estimated to be as high as 40%. Recent advances in functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) have shown that it can be used to visualise brain structure and measure its function in DoC. This project will help improve diagnoses by developing a suite of hierarchical high-density EEG-based tests for measuring residual brain activity in patients at their bedside. The project intends to design and implement software for detecting such volitional brain activity in real-time. This will directly aid the instrumentation of specialised Brain-Computer Interfacing (BCI) systems to translate this activity into commands for simple communication. For some patients these interfaces could provide a basic but reliable communication channel.

This research was funded/supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).