Patients lying in a vegetative state present severe impairments of consciousness  caused by lesions in the cortex, the brainstem, the thalamus and the white matter . There is agreement that this condition may involve disconnections in long-range cortico-cortical and thalamo-cortical pathways . Hence, in the vegetative state cortical activity is 'deafferented' from subcortical modulation and/or principally disrupted between fronto-parietal regions. Some patients in a vegetative state recover while others persistently remain in such a state. The neural signature of spontaneous recovery is linked to increased thalamo-cortical activity and improved fronto-parietal functional connectivity . The likelihood of consciousness recovery depends on the extent of brain damage and patients' etiology, but after one year of unresponsive behavior, chances become low . There is thus a need to explore novel ways of repairing lost consciousness. Here we report beneficial effects of vagus nerve stimulation on consciousness level of a single patient in a vegetative state, including improved behavioral responsiveness and enhanced brain connectivity patterns.
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