Vegetative patients 'still learn' 植物人“仍然有學習能力”
文章來源:未知 文章作者:meng 發布時間:2009-09-22 03:20 字體: [ ]  進入論壇

Patients with severe brain damage who do not appear to have signs of consciousness still seem able to learn, a Cambridge University study suggests.


Researchers hope the test will help determine which patients may recover
Researchers hope the test will help determine which patients may recover

Researchers tested for Pavlovian-like responses in 22 people in a persistent1 vegetative state by playing a noise prior to a puff2 of(一陣) air to the eye.

Some subjects learnt to anticipate the puff of air causing the eye muscles to twitch3, Nature Neuroscience reported.

The team hopes it may lead to tests to determine which patients could recover.

Study leader Dr Tristan Bekinschtein from the University of Cambridge said the consensus4 had been that learning to link one stimulus5 with another - in this case a noise and a puff of air - was dependent on explicit6(明確的,詳述的) awareness7 of the association.

But the study, where up to 70 puffs8 of air were delivered over a 25 minute period, showed that this sort of conditioning is possible even in patients who, by all other measures, are not conscious.

Electrodes positioned by the eyes picked up whether the muscles began to respond or not.

And a control experiment doing the same tests on people under general anaesthesia(麻醉,麻木) did not produce the same responses, suggesting that the learning does not happen when truly unconscious, and that some patients may have some level of consciousness not apparent on traditional tests.

Sign of recovery

Dr Bekinschtein, who began the work as a PhD student in Argentina, said they also found that patients who started to anticipate(預期,期待) the puff of air were more likely to show signs of recovery later on, in terms of increased ability to communicate.

Although the results are reported in 22 patients, some of whom were in what is termed a "minimally9 conscious state", the team has since used the test in many more and is planning a large clinical trial with colleagues in the US and Belgium.

"These were classic Pavlovian experiments and some patients, but not all of them, started to respond.

"They were clearly anticipating the stimulus would come, so there is some kind of perception and from the point of view of the patient who is allegedly unconscious this could have profound implications," he said.

He said an exciting aspect of the study was that the test was easy to do and could be carried out without specialist equipment.

"This is potentially a test that could be used to test the consciousness of the patient.

"Interestingly about 80% of those who showed learning had some improvement so it gives us some confidence that we can predict those who will show some level of recovery," he added.

Professor Christopher Yeo, an expert in behavioural neuroscience(神經系統科學) at University College London, said the results looked interesting although the effects seen were small.

"All the data is extremely subtle(微妙的,敏感的) so a study in a bigger group will improve the reliability10 of the findings," he said.

"The only thing I would say in terms of practical relevance11 is the subjects who don't learn are the ones who don't improve their condition but among those who do learn there is even distribution(分配,散布) between those who do and do not improve."


1 persistent BSUzg     
  • Albert had a persistent headache that lasted for three days.艾伯特連續頭痛了三天。
  • She felt embarrassed by his persistent attentions.他不時地向她大獻殷勤,使她很難為情。
2 puff y0cz8     
  • He took a puff at his cigarette.他吸了一口香煙。
  • They tried their best to puff the book they published.他們盡力吹捧他們出版的書。
3 twitch jK3ze     
  • The smell made my dog's nose twitch.那股氣味使我的狗的鼻子抽動著。
  • I felt a twitch at my sleeve.我覺得有人扯了一下我的袖子。
4 consensus epMzA     
  • Can we reach a consensus on this issue?我們能在這個問題上取得一致意見嗎?
  • What is the consensus of opinion at the afternoon meeting?下午會議上一致的意見是什么?
5 stimulus 3huyO     
  • Regard each failure as a stimulus to further efforts.把每次失利看成對進一步努力的激勵。
  • Light is a stimulus to growth in plants.光是促進植物生長的一個因素。
6 explicit IhFzc     
  • She was quite explicit about why she left.她對自己離去的原因直言不諱。
  • He avoids the explicit answer to us.他避免給我們明確的回答。
7 awareness 4yWzdW     
  • There is a general awareness that smoking is harmful.人們普遍認識到吸煙有害健康。
  • Environmental awareness has increased over the years.這些年來人們的環境意識增強了。
8 puffs cb3699ccb6e175dfc305ea6255d392d6     
n.吸( puff的名詞復數 );(煙斗或香煙的)一吸;一縷(煙、蒸汽等);(呼吸或風的)呼v.使噴出( puff的第三人稱單數 );噴著汽(或煙)移動;吹噓;吹捧
  • We sat exchanging puffs from that wild pipe of his. 我們坐在那里,輪番抽著他那支野里野氣的煙斗。 來自辭典例句
  • Puffs of steam and smoke came from the engine. 一股股蒸汽和煙霧從那火車頭里冒出來。 來自辭典例句
9 minimally 0e3844f43172f471e75a897f7b3116da     
  • Food spoilage problems occur with minimally processed, concentrated frozen citrus products. 食品的變質也發生在輕微加工的、濃縮冷凍的柑橘制品中。
  • So, minimally, they are responsible for such actions and omissions. 所以,至少來說,他們要對這樣的行為和忽略負責。
10 reliability QVexf     
  • We mustn't presume too much upon the reliability of such sources.我們不應過分指望這類消息來源的可靠性。
  • I can assure you of the reliability of the information.我向你保證這消息可靠。
11 relevance gVAxg     
  • Politicians' private lives have no relevance to their public roles.政治家的私生活與他們的公眾角色不相關。
  • Her ideas have lost all relevance to the modern world.她的想法與現代社會完全脫節。
TAG標簽: brain patient damage learn
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