Determining conscious processing in unresponsive patients relies on subjective behavioural assessment. Using data from hand electromyography, the authors studied the occurrence of subthreshold muscle activity in response to verbal command, as an objective indicator of awareness in 10 disorders of consciousness patients. One out of eight vegetative state patients and both two minimally conscious patients demonstrated increased electromyography signal specifically linked to command. These findings suggest electromyography could be used to objectively assess awareness in pathologies of consciousness.
- minimally conscious state
- vegetative state