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Tuesday 1 March 2016

This device Can Tell Doctors Just How Conscious You Are


Research on Measuring Conscious State of Person

A new research from the University of Cambridge is said to be capable of measuring precisely how aware one is of their own existence. Chennu can work out what is going on inside your head in a matter of 10 minutes. The technique which had been developed by neuroscientist Srivas Chennu seems to combine classic EEGs with graph theory, which is a form of maths.

With two simple pieces of equipment, a cap that is covered in electrodes together with a box measuring patterns of electrical activity tends to measure the brains’ signature representing the way wherein neurons as well as neural networks are firing. After a few minutes wheeling his trolley held device away, he is capable of attaining adequate information to know how conscious a person is. What Chennu seems to be looking for with the electroencephalogram – EEG is the electrical brain signature.

The body’s most complex organ, networks of neurons are firing up and creating brain waves of electrical activity, at any one moment which can be detected through the scalp net. Chennu comments that `being conscious is about more than simply being awake and is also made of `noticing and experiencing.

Device Portable – Utilised as Bedside Device

When someone is conscious, there seems to be patterns of synchronised neural activity racing across the brain, which can be identified utilising EEG and quantified using the software’. The technology is said to be portable and Chennu expects that it would be utilised as a bedside device for the doctors while treating their patients who seems to be in vegetative conditions or who tend to have brain traumas due to injuries or strokes. It could be useful in providing patients with improved care or offer insights to help in waking a patient from prolonged condition of partial arousal.

For instance, patients who seem to show signs of consciousness could be kept on a life support machine for longer time than a patient who does not seem to do so. During trials of the device, the team noticed two patients, one who portrayed high levels of consciousness, depicted in image as a big colourful Mohican and one who did not. The first patient ultimately woke up while the second did not.

Research Based on – Patient in Vegetative State Responds to Yes/No

Chennu and his team intend to undertake a three year long experiment, in observing and treating around 50 patients with brain damage. Chennu had stated that `medical advances mean that we are identifying subtypes of brain injury and moving away from `one size fits all’, to more-targeted treatment specific for an individuals’ needs. The question that fascinates us is what type of consciousness do patients have?’

The research is based on the conclusion that a patient in a vegetative state tends to respond to yes or no questions measured by the distinct patterns of the brain activity utilising functional magnetic resonance imaging. It had been observed by Chennu’s colleagues in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences as well as the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Science – MRC CBSU, which was led by Dr Adrian Owen.

 Chennu expects that the machine would fill up a technology gap and states that misdiagnosis of true levels of consciousness in vegetative patients seems to be around 40% and is based on behavioural examination. To some extent this is because there is no gold standard for the assessment of a patient’s awareness at the bedside’.

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