Department of Medicine, Division of Critical Care Medicine, Western University, London, Ontario, N6A 5A5, Canada
BMC Medicine 2013, 11:19 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-19
See related research article here http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/11/18Published: 24 January 2013
In a study by Cruse et al. published in BMC Medicine, patients with severe brain damage who were in the Vegetative or Minimally Conscious States (VS or MCS, respectively) from traumatic and nontraumatic etiologies had assessments of circadian rhythms using an actigraph, a device worn on a limb to evaluate circadian rhythmicity, in this population. This is a novel approach and is being used as a surrogate for polysomnography and other reference standards. Cruse et al. showed more disruption in circadian rhythms in the VS when compared to the MCS. This suggests that more brain injury occurs in the areas that control circadian rhythmicity in VS than in MCS patients. The study provides opportunities for improved prognostication and rehabilitation strategies in this patient population.