Non-invasive brain intervention techniques used in patients with disorders of consciousness

Int J Neurosci. 2021 Apr;131(4):390-404. doi: 10.1080/00207454.2020.1744598. Epub 2020 Apr 2.

Abstract

Aim of the study: With the development of emergency medicine and intensive care technology, the number of people who survive with disorders of consciousness (DOC) has dramatically increased. The diagnosis and treatment of such patients have attracted much attention from the medical community. From the latest evidence-based guidelines, non-invasive brain intervention (NIBI) techniques may be valuable and promising in the diagnosis and conscious rehabilitation of DOC patients.Methods: This work reviews the studies on NIBI techniques for the assessment and intervention of DOC patients.Results: A large number of studies have explored the application of NIBI techniques in DOC patients. The NIBI techniques include transcranial magnetic stimulation, transcranial electric stimulation, music stimulation, near-infrared laser stimulation, focused shock wave therapy, low-intensity focused ultrasound pulsation and transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation.Conclusions: NIBI techniques present numerous advantages such as being painless, safe and inexpensive; having adjustable parameters and targets; and having broad development prospects in treating DOC patients.

Keywords: Disorders of consciousness; non-invasive brain intervention; transcranial electric stimulation; transcranial magnetic stimulation.