Clinical EEG and Neuroscience
URL with Digital Object Identifier
Electroencephalography (EEG) has been proposed as a supplemental tool for reducing clinical misdiagnosis in severely brain-injured populations helping to distinguish conscious from unconscious patients. We studied the use of spectral entropy as a measure of focal attention in order to develop a motor-independent, portable, and objective diagnostic tool for patients with locked-in syndrome (LIS), answering the issues of accuracy and training requirement. Data from 20 healthy volunteers, 6 LIS patients, and 10 patients with a vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (VS/UWS) were included. Spectral entropy was computed during a gaze-independent 2-class (attention vs rest) paradigm, and compared with EEG rhythms (delta, theta, alpha, and beta) classification. Spectral entropy classification during the attention-rest paradigm showed 93% and 91% accuracy in healthy volunteers and LIS patients respectively. VS/UWS patients were at chance level. EEG rhythms classification reached a lower accuracy than spectral entropy. Resting-state EEG spectral entropy could not distinguish individual VS/UWS patients from LIS patients. The present study provides evidence that an EEG-based measure of attention could detect command-following in patients with severe motor disabilities. The entropy system could detect a response to command in all healthy subjects and LIS patients, while none of the VS/UWS patients showed a response to command using this system.