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Neurobehavioral function during coma, stroke rehabilitation effective for elderly

The current issue of the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development (JRRD) includes articles that focus on health management of patients during coma, development of a comprehensive stroke database, and effectiveness of rehabilitation following stroke in elderly populations. Full-text articles are available, free, online at www.vard.org.

Disorders of Consciousness Scale reliably predicts recovery of consciousness from coma, pg 1
This study, the first of a two-part series, examines the development of and psychometric properties of the Disorders of Consciousness Scale (DOCS), which measures neurobehavioral functioning during coma. Veterans and civilians over age 18 unconscious after a severe brain injury were evaluated with the DOCS weekly. Investigators found that the DOCS is a sensitive, reliable, and valid measure of changes in neurobehavioral functioning in unconscious people. Improvements, declines, and plateaus in neurobehavioral functioning were reliably and accurately detected. Physicians can use the DOCS to tell families the likelihood of recovering consciousness within the first year of injury. Preliminary findings indicate that this prognosis can be provided with up to 86% certainty.

Systematic tracking of recovery from coma improves medical and rehabilitation strategies, pg 19
This study, the second of a two-part series, illustrates how repeated measures of neurobehavioral functioning derived from the Disorders of Consciousness Scale (DOCS) improves medical and rehabilitation management during coma recovery. Investigators found that medical decision-making regarding short-term effects of pharmacological interventions was improved. Previously undetected secondary medical complications were detected and successfully treated. Development and refinement of individualized rehabilitation programs was facilitated and enhanced. An investigation of treatment effectiveness during com
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Contact: Judith LaVoie
judith@vard.org
410-962-1800 x 229
VA Research Communications Service
14-Mar-2005


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