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Life-Changing Brain Scans

New Test Could Determine Consciousness in Vegetative Patients

— May 22, 2011 — Tech
There is a new test that may help determine whether consciousness in vegetative patients exists. By monitoring the way brains respond to sounds played through headphones, researchers are able to determine whether a person is in a minimally conscious state or a truly vegetative state. Vegetative patients have a response about half that of MCS patients or healthy control groups.

New Scientist reports that according to Mélanie Boly from the University of Liège in Belgium, determining the level of consciousness in vegetative patients is currently time-consuming and subjective, and misdiagnoses are common. As many as 40 percent of those thought to be in a vegetative state may actually be conscious on some level. The new testing method may be able to provide peace of mind to those charged with making critical decisions about the long-term care of their loved ones.
Trend Themes
1. Brain Activity Monitoring - Utilizing brain scans to monitor and determine consciousness levels in vegetative patients.
2. Improved Diagnosis Accuracy - Developing new testing methods to reduce misdiagnoses in determining the level of consciousness in vegetative patients.
3. Enhancing Long-term Care Decision Making - Providing peace of mind to individuals involved in critical decision-making regarding the long-term care of vegetative patients by using the new testing method.
Industry Implications
1. Medical Technology - Opportunity for medical technology companies to develop advanced brain scanning tools and devices for monitoring consciousness levels.
2. Healthcare - Disruptive innovation opportunity in the healthcare industry to improve the accuracy of diagnosing consciousness in vegetative patients.
3. Elderly Care - Innovative solutions in elderly care industry for providing better long-term care options by incorporating the new testing method for consciousness assessment in vegetative patients.
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