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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2008 December;44(4):449-53

Copyright © 2008 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Successful extension of assessment and rehabilitation intervention for an adolescent with postcoma multiple disabilities through a learning setup

Lancioni G. E. 1, Olivetti Belardinelli M. 2, Oliva D. 3, 4, Signorino M. 3, 4, De Tommaso M. 1, Megna G. 1, Singh N. N. 5, O’Reilly M. F. 6, Sigafoos J. 7

1 Department of Psychology, University of Bari, Bari, Italy 2 La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy 3 Lega del Filo D’Oro Research Center, Osimo, Ancona, Italy 4 Fermo Hospital, Ascoli Piceno, Italy 5 ONE Research Institute, Richmond, VA, USA 6 University of Texas, Austin, TX, USA 7 University of Tasmania, Australia


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Prior to the beginning of this study, the participant (an adolescent with postcoma multiple disabilities) had learned to use a forehead-skin response to access environmental stimuli. These learning data seemed to indicate a minimally conscious state (i.e., awareness of the link between response and stimuli) in spite of 1) a previous diagnosis of postcoma vegetative state; and 2) concomitant electrophysiological measurement showing no evidence of a passive P300 response and of mismatch negativity. The present study was an effort to extend the early learning investigation with two additional responses and related stimuli to broaden learning evidence and ascertain possible choice behavior. Results indicated that the participant learned the new responses and also provided evidence of choice behavior. These data were discussed in terms of the usefulness of the learning paradigm in the assessment and rehabilitation of persons with postcoma multiple disabilities and consciousness disorders.

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