Lutkenhoff E.S., Chiang J., Tshibanda L., Kamau E., Kirsch M., Pickard J.D., Owen A.M., Monti M.M. (2015) Thalamic and extra-thalamic mechanisms of consciousness after severe brain injury. Annals of Neurology. [ePub ahead of print].
Traditionally the thalamo-cortical axis is believed to be crucial for the maintenance/recovery of consciousness after brain injury as well as cortical/behavioral arousal. Evan Lutkenhoff (MontiLab post-doc) shows, in a paper now in press in Annals of Neurology, that while the degree of thalamic atrophy is proportional to a patient’s inability to produce voluntary behavior and communicate, the impairment in arousal is unrelated to thalamic atrophy. Rather, level of arousal was connected to the degree of atorphy within the basal ganglia (putamen/globus pallidus).
Atrophy in Patients as compared to Healthy Volunteers
Atrophy correlating with clinical scores of motor behavior/communication and arousal