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Bedside EEG Can Help Aid Prognosis in Unresponsive Brain Injury patients 


Recently, a team of researchers at the University of Birmingham found that the results of Electroencephalography (EEG) in unconscious patients after brain injuries had a significant correlation with the strength of covery in speech comprehension. This provided insights into the prognosis of severe traumatic brain injury, which will be greatly critical to the timing of clinical treatment. 


What is EEG?

Electroencephalography is recorded through a set of electrodes attached to the skull. It can detect waves of electrical activity in the brain. EEG is usually used in the study of sleep and diagnosis of epilepsy. 


Method and results

Researchers play monosyllabic words that constitute meaningful sentences while recording EEG results at the same time. In a control group of healthy people, the EEG waves correlate with the rhythms of words.  In the group of unresponsive patients under traumatic injury,  EEG results show a significant linear relationship with the prognosis of speech comprehension. 


Why is this study important? 

Prognosis of severe traumatic brain injury is critical. Usually, medical professionals can make an adequate prognosis through the individual’s behaviour under commands and CT scans. However, some patients have no response after sedatives lose effects. This imposes great barriers for timely prognostication. Without proper information, health care workers and family members must decide between further waiting and ceasing the life-sustaining treatment. Unfortunately, the results of unresponsiveness after sedation are not very positive. In many cases, patients tend to be in vegetative states. 

But with the newly discovered use of EEG, this marker can help doctors with a more accurate prognosis on time and plan strategies of treatment. With further investigation and application, EEG will be an advantageous tool in the treatment of traumatic brain injury because of its non-invasiveness and passiveness.  



Bedside EEG test can aid prognosis in unresponsive brain injury patients. (2021, January 05). Retrieved from

EEG (electroencephalogram). (2020, April 15). Retrieved from

Sokoliuk, R., Degano, G., Banellis, L., Melloni, L., Hayton, T., Sturman, S., . . . Cruse, D. (2021, January 09). Covert Speech Comprehension Predicts Recovery From Acute Unresponsive States. Retrieved from

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