Repeated stimulation of the posterior parietal cortex in patients in minimally conscious state: A sham-controlled randomized clinical trial

Authors: Huang WWannez SFregni FHu XJing SMartens GHe MDi HLaureys SThibaut A

Patients in unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (UWS e recov- ery of eyes opening while no behavioral sign of consciousness [1]) and in minimally conscious state (MCS e recovery of reproducible purposeful behaviors [2]) have no access to conventional rehabili- tation program, apart from pharmacological or passive rehabilita- tion treatments. A few clinical controlled trials using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applied over the prefrontal cortex have shown promising results in patients in MCS [3e5]. tDCS has the advantage of being safe and easily performed at patient’s bed- sides [6]. In the present study, we decided to stimulate the posterior parietal cortex in subacute and chronic patients in MCS since, based on the literature, it is a critical hub for consciousness recovery (for a review see Ref. [7]). We hypothesized that, by increasing the excit- ability of this critical region, patients might recover some signs of consciousness.

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