Journal of Neurology

, Volume 263, Issue 5, pp 937–953 | Cite as

Coherence in resting-state EEG as a predictor for the recovery from unresponsive wakefulness syndrome

  • Barbara Schorr
  • Winfried Schlee
  • Marion Arndt
  • Andreas Bender
Original Communication


We investigated differences of EEG coherence within (short-range), and between (long-range) specified brain areas as diagnostic markers for different states in disorders of consciousness (DOC), and their predictive value for recovery from unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (UWS). EEGs of 73 patients and 24 controls were recorded and coma recovery scale- revised (CRS-R) scores were assessed. CRS-R of UWS patients was collected after 12 months and divided into two groups (improved/unimproved). Frontal, parietal, fronto-parietal, fronto-temporal, and fronto-occipital coherence was computed, as well as EEG power over frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal areas. Minimally conscious patients (MCS) and UWS patients could not be differentiated based on their coherence patterns or on EEG power. Fronto-parietal and parietal coherence could positively predict improvement of UWS patients, i.e. recovery from UWS to MCS. Parietal coherence was significantly higher in delta and theta frequencies in the improved group, as well as the coherence between frontal and parietal regions in delta, theta, alpha, and beta frequencies. High parietal delta and theta, and high fronto-parietal theta and alpha coherence appear to provide strong early evidence for recovery from UWS with high predictive sensitivity and specificity. Short and long-range coherence can have a diagnostic value in the prognosis of recovery from UWS.


EEG coherence Resting-state Unresponsive wakefulness syndrome Fronto-parietal network Prognosis Recovery 



This study was conducted in the framework of the KOPFregister, supported by the ZNS-Hannelore Kohl Stiftung, Germany (Grant No. 2011013 awarded to Andreas Bender), and the Deutsche Stiftung Neurologie, Germany.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

None of the authors have potential conflicts of interest to be disclosed.

Ethical standards

This study has been approved by the ethics committee of the University of Munich and has, therefore, been performed in the accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki.

The study was approved by the institutional review board of the University of Munich. Healthy controls gave written informed consent prior to participating in the experiment. For patients, written informed consent was provided by the appointed legal surrogates prior to participation.

Supplementary material

415_2016_8084_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (43 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 43 kb)
415_2016_8084_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (62 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 61 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Schorr
    • 1
    • 2
  • Winfried Schlee
    • 3
  • Marion Arndt
    • 1
  • Andreas Bender
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Therapiezentrum BurgauBurgauGermany
  2. 2.Clinical and Biological Psychology, Institute of Psychology and EducationUlm UniversityUlmGermany
  3. 3.Institute for Psychiatry and PsychotherapyUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany
  4. 4.Department of Neurology, Klinikum GrosshadernUniversity of MunichMunichGermany

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