3 years ago

Electrodermal reactivity to emotional stimuli in healthy subjects and patients with disorders of consciousness

Jacques Luauté, Anne Dubois, Lizette Heine, Chloé Guironnet, Ariane Juliat, Valérie Gaveau, Barbara Tillmann, Fabien Perrin

Publication date: November 2018

Source: Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Volume 61, Issue 6

Author(s): Jacques Luauté, Anne Dubois, Lizette Heine, Chloé Guironnet, Ariane Juliat, Valérie Gaveau, Barbara Tillmann, Fabien Perrin

Abstract
Objectives

After a coma, one major challenge is the detection of awareness in patients with disorders of consciousness. In some patients, the only manifestation indicative of awareness is an appropriate emotional response. Preferred music is a powerful medium to elicit emotions and autobiographical memory. Furthermore, music has been shown to improve cognitive functions both in healthy subjects and patients with neurological impairment. We hypothesized that signs of awareness could be enhanced in some patients with disorders of consciousness under appropriate emotional stimulation such as preferred music and also probably preferred odors.

Methods

To investigate an objective, easily recordable marker of emotions at the patients’ bedside, electrodermal activity (skin conductance level, SCL) was assessed with stimulations in auditory and olfactory modalities, notably with preferred music, neutral sound, preferred odors, and neutral odors. The study was conducted in 11 patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC) and 7 healthy participants.

Results

In healthy subjects, the mean amplitude of the SCL was increased during exposure to preferred music as compared to neutral sounds (respectively: 0.00037 ± 0.0004 vs. – 0.00004 ± 0.00019 μS). No significant difference between conditions was detected in patients.

Conclusion

The results of this study suggest that electrodermal activity could be a useful marker of emotions induced by music in healthy controls. However, it failed to show any significant difference between conditions in patients with DOC.

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