Different sort of people are interested in personal identity. Philosophers frequently ask what it takes to remain oneself. Caregivers imagine their patients’ experience. But both philosophers and caregivers think from the armchair: they can only make assumptions about what it would be like to wake up with massive bodily changes. Patients with a locked-in syndrome suffer a full body paralysis without cognitive impairment. They can tell us what it is like. Forty-four chronic LIS patients and 20 age-matched healthy medical professionals (...) answered a 15-items questionnaire targeting: global evaluation of identity, body representation and experienced meaning in life. In patients, self-reported identity was correlated with B and C. Patients differed with controls in C. These results suggest that the paralyzed body remains a strong component of patients’ experienced identity, that patients can adjust to objectives changes perceived as meaningful and that caregivers fail in predicting patients’ experience. (shrink)
Pain, suffering and positive emotions in patients in vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (VS/uws) and minimally conscious states (MCS) pose clinical and ethical challenges. Clinically, we evaluate behavioural responses after painful stimulation and also emotionally-contingent behaviours (e.g., smiling). Using stimuli with emotional valence, neuroimaging and electrophysiology technologies can detect subclinical remnants of preserved capacities for pain which might influence decisions about treatment limitation. To date, no data exist as to how healthcare providers think about end-of-life options (e.g., withdrawal of artificial nutrition (...) and hydration) in the presence or absence of pain in non-communicative patients. Here, we aimed to better clarify this issue by re-analyzing previously published data on pain perception (Prog Brain Res 2009 177, 329–38) and end-of-life decisions (J Neurol 2010 258, 1058–65) in patients with disorders of consciousness. In a sample of 2259 European healthcare professionals we found that, for VS/uws more respondents agreed with treatment withdrawal when they considered that VS/uws patients did not feel pain (77%) as compared to those who thought VS/uws did feel pain (59%). This interaction was influenced by religiosity and professional background. For MCS, end-of-life attitudes were not influenced by opinions on pain perception. Within a contemporary ethical context we discuss (1) the evolving scientific understandings of pain perception and their relationship to existing clinical and ethical guidelines; (2) the discrepancies of attitudes within (and between) healthcare providers and their consequences for treatment approaches, and (3) the implicit but complex relationship between pain perception and attitudes toward life-sustaining treatments. (shrink)
Understanding loss of consciousness after brain injury poses a practical test for the field of consciousness research, with both clinical and ethical implications. We here discuss three major pathological disorders of consciousness; coma, the unresponsive wakefulness syndrome and the minimally conscious state, which together represent a lesion model for the investigation of human awareness. We review the anatomical and neurophysiological correlates of each condition, and discuss the current findings in context of several theoretical frameworks of consciousness.
Background: Spasticity following a stroke occurs in about 30% of patients. The mechanisms underlying this disorder, however, are not well understood. Method: This review aims to define spasticity, describe hypotheses explaining its development after a stroke, give an overview of related neuroimaging studies as well as a description of the most common scales used to quantify the degree of spasticity and finally explore which treatments are currently being used to treat this disorder.
IntroductionA symptom cluster is very common among oncological patients: cancer-related fatigue, emotional distress, sleep difficulties, pain, and cognitive difficulties. Clinical applications of interventions based on non-ordinary states of consciousness, mostly hypnosis and meditation, are starting to be investigated in oncology settings. They revealed encouraging results in terms of improvements of these symptoms. However, these studies often focused on breast cancer patients, with methodological limitations. Another non-ordinary state of consciousness may also have therapeutic applications in oncology: self-induced cognitive trance. It seems (...) to differ from hypnosis and meditation, as it involves the body more directly. Thus, investigating its clinical applications, along with hypnosis and meditation interventions, could improve available therapeutic options in oncology. This article details the study protocol of a preference-based longitudinal controlled superiority trial aiming to assess the effectiveness of 3 group interventions to improve oncological patients’ quality of life, and more specifically CRF, emotional distress, sleep, pain, and cognitive difficulties.Methods and analysisA power analysis required a total sample of 160 patients. Main inclusion criteria are: cancer diagnosis, active treatments completed for less than a year, no practice of hypnosis, meditation, or SICT, and presence of at least one of these four symptoms: fatigue, sleep difficulties, depression, or anxiety. Each participant will choose the intervention in which they want to participate. To test the effectiveness of the interventions, data will be collected by questionnaires and neurobiological measures and directly from the medical record at four time points: before inclusion in the study ; immediately after the intervention; and at 3- and 12-month follow-up. The longitudinal data in each group will then be measured.DiscussionIn addition to standard cancer therapies, there is a growing interest from patients in complementary approaches, such as hypnosis, meditation, and SICT. The results of this study will be useful to increase knowledge about short- and long-term effectiveness of 3 group interventions for CRF, emotional distress, sleep, pain, and cognitive difficulties in patients with different cancers.Clinical Trial RegistrationClinicalTrials.gov/. Retrospectively registered on the 29th of April 2021. url: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04873661. (shrink)
BackgroundWith the emergence of Brain Computer Interfaces, clinicians have been facing a new group of patients with severe acquired brain injury who are unable to show any behavioral sign of consciousness but respond to active neuroimaging or electrophysiological paradigms. However, even though well documented, there is still no consensus regarding the nomenclature for this clinical entity.ObjectivesThis systematic review aims to 1) identify the terms used to indicate the presence of this entity through the years, and 2) promote an informed discussion (...) regarding the rationale for these names and the best candidates to name this fascinating disorder.MethodsThe Disorders of Consciousness Special Interest Group of the International Brain Injury Association launched a search on Pubmed and Google scholar following PRISMA guidelines to collect peer-reviewed articles and reviews on human adults published in English between 2006 and 2021.ResultsThe search launched in January 2021 identified 4,089 potentially relevant titles. After screening, 1,126 abstracts were found relevant. Finally, 161 manuscripts were included in our analyses. Only 58% of the manuscripts used a specific name to discuss this clinical entity, among which 32% used several names interchangeably throughout the text. We found 25 different names given to this entity. The five following names were the ones the most frequently used: covert awareness, cognitive motor dissociation, functional locked-in, non-behavioral MCS and higher-order cortex motor dissociation.ConclusionSince 2006, there has been no agreement regarding the taxonomy to use for unresponsive patients who are able to respond to active neuroimaging or electrophysiological paradigms. Developing a standard taxonomy is an important goal for future research studies and clinical translation. We recommend a Delphi study in order to build such a consensus. (shrink)