In the Istituto S.Anna psycho-physiology laboratory, different methods are used to evaluate, in patients in a vegetative state (or as they are defined today, patients with an unresponsive waking syndrome), the state of consciousness and its evolution. Patients admitted in Severe Brain Injusry Unit are monitored with different devices allowing the observation and analysis of the response to appropriate programmed stimuli.
In particular, with regards to sensory stimulations (visual, auditory, olfactory and tactile), they are administered in a monomodal way, that is, not involving multiple senses simultaneously, and in specific sequences. In this way it is possible to understand the specificity of the answer.
Furthermore, an eye tracker system is used for visual stimuli that allows the patient’s ability to respond to stimuli to be accurately analysed.
Visual and auditory stimulations are administered considering a particular statistical model (the result of our research work) that allows us to establish the moment in which it is most likely to obtain an answer.
This activity, the result of years of research and various scientific publications, is exclusive to our nursing home.