Deep brain stimulation for the treatment of disorders of consciousness and cognition in traumatic brain injury patients: a review.

Kundu B, Brock AA, Englot DJ, Butson CR, Rolston JD
Neurosurg Focus. 2018 45 (2): E14

PMID: 30064315 · PMCID: PMC6193266 · DOI:10.3171/2018.5.FOCUS18168

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a looming epidemic, growing most rapidly in the elderly population. Some of the most devastating sequelae of TBI are related to depressed levels of consciousness (e.g., coma, minimally conscious state) or deficits in executive function. To date, pharmacological and rehabilitative therapies to treat these sequelae are limited. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been used to treat a number of pathologies, including Parkinson disease, essential tremor, and epilepsy. Animal and clinical research shows that targets addressing depressed levels of consciousness include components of the ascending reticular activating system and areas of the thalamus. Targets for improving executive function are more varied and include areas that modulate attention and memory, such as the frontal and prefrontal cortex, fornix, nucleus accumbens, internal capsule, thalamus, and some brainstem nuclei. The authors review the literature addressing the use of DBS to treat higher-order cognitive dysfunction and disorders of consciousness in TBI patients, while also offering suggestions on directions for future research.

MeSH Terms (8)

Animals Brain Injuries, Traumatic Cognition Consciousness Deep Brain Stimulation Epilepsy Humans Thalamus

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