BACKGROUND: It is well established that some patients who are diagnosed as being in a vegetative state or a minimally conscious state show reliable signs of volition that may only be detected by measuring neural responses. A pertinent question is whether these patients are capable of higher cognitive processes.
METHODS: Here, we develop a series of EEG paradigms that probe several core aspects of cognition at the bedside without the need for motor responses and explore the sensitivity of this approach in a group of healthy controls.
RESULTS: Using analysis of ERPs alone, this method can determine with high reliability whether individual participants are able to attend a stimulus stream, maintain items in working memory, or solve complex grammatical reasoning problems.
CONCLUSION: We suggest that this approach could form the basis of a brain-based battery for assessing higher cognition in patients with severe motor impairments or disorders of consciousness.
- Evoked Potentials
- Healthy Volunteers
- Memory, Short-Term
- Persistent Vegetative State
- Point-of-Care Testing
- Reproducibility of Results
- Sensitivity and Specificity
- Synaptic Transmission
- Task Performance and Analysis
- Young Adult