Disorders of consciousness

Project Team

Project Management
Prof. Dr. Iris-Tatjana Kolassa

M.Sc.-Psych. Martin Rosenfelder

Cooperation network
Prof. Dr. Andreas Bender, Therapiezentrum Burgau

Prof. Dr. Iris-Tatjana Kolassa

Research topics

Unresponsive wakefulness refers to a condition in which the patient has opened his eyes but does not show any discernible reaction when asked to do so. The prevalence in Europe is between 0.5 and 2 per 100,000 inhabitants per year. One third of the patients suffer from severe craniocerebral trauma. One of the main challenges in clinical diagnostics is to adequately determine the state of consciousness of patients. With the development of the Coma Recovery Scale revised, the diagnosis of disorders of consciousness could be considerably improved and a large number of false diagnoses could be revised. To further improve diagnostic accuracy, imaging methods such as electroencephalography (EEG) will be applied in future to measure the neuronal activity of patients and thus obtain a holistic picture of their condition. In this way, traces of consciousness may also be detected in patients who, according to clinical evaluations, only show unresponsive wakefulness.

In cooperation with PD Dr. Andreas Bender, Chief Physician of the Therapy Centre Burgau (more), we aim on developing standard operating paradigms, i.e. a catalogue of diagnostic procedures (e.g. event-related potentials), for the diagnosis of consciousness in patients with respective disorders.

The Department of Clinical & Biological Psychology investigates on the establishment of high-resolution EEG procedures to improve the diagnosis and prognosis of consciousness disorders and the evaluation of therapeutic effects.

Selected Publications

  • Stefan, S., Schorr, B., Lopez-Rolon, A., Kolassa, I.-T., Rosenfelder, M., Heck, S., Bender, A. (2018). Consciousness indexing and outcome prediction with resting-state EEG in severe disorders of consciousness. Brain Topography, 31(5), 848-862.

  • Schorr, B., Schlee, W., Arndt, M., Lulé, D., Kolassa, I.-T., Lopez-Rolon, A., & Bender, A. (2015). Stability of auditory event-related potentials in coma research. Journal of Neurology, 262(2), 307-315.