The Use of LIFUP in Chronic Disorders of Consciousness


Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare




Minimally Conscious State Plus
Traumatic Brain Injury
Coma; Prolonged
Vegetative State
Minimally Conscious State
Anoxia, Brain
CVA (Cerebrovascular Accident)
Disorder of Consciousness
Minimally Conscious State Minus
Thalamic Infarction


Device: BX Pulsar 1002 (LIFUP) Low intensity Focused Ultrasound Pulsation

Study type


Funder types




Details and patient eligibility


When patients survive a severe brain injury but fail to fully recover, they often enter a Disorder of Consciousness (DoC) --that is, a set of related conditions of decreased awareness and arousal including the Vegetative State (VS) and the Minimally Conscious State (MCS). When these conditions become chronic, there are no approved treatments to help bolster any further recovery. In prior work, we have shown the clinical feasibility and potential of Low Intensity Focused Ultrasound Pulsation (LIFUP) as a remarkably safe form of non-invasive brain stimulation in these conditions.

Full description

In the present study, we propose taking the "next step" to assess whether LIFUP can affect objective and validated markers of DoC patient impairment (in the direction of lesser impairment). Specifically, patients will be admitted at Casa Colina Hospital for a 10-day (in-patient) protocol, and two follow-up sessions, conducted remotely (e.g., over the phone) at 7 and 30-days post-discharge. The full length of the study is 40 days from admission. Over the admission period, patients will undergo multiple measurements of validated biomarkers, including behavioral testing, brain metabolism (using Positron Emission Tomography), and electroencephalography, before and after one session of LIFUP to thalamus.


16 patients




18+ years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

Diagnosis of VS or MCS based on the CRS-R .

Chronic status:

  • 3 months post-injury for non-traumatic etiologies
  • 12 months post-injury for traumatic etiology
  • 18 years of age or older.
  • If on a psychotropic medication regimen, that regimen will be stable for at least 4 weeks prior to entry to the study and the patient will be willing to remain on a stable regimen during the protocol.

Exclusion criteria

  • History of neurological disorder (other than the brain injury).
  • Unsuitability to undergo Magnetic Resonance (MR) assessment (e.g., non-MR compatible implants).
  • Unsuitability to undergo LIFUP neuromodulation (e.g., presence of non-bone implant or absence of bone under the expected positioning of the device by the left temporal bone window).
  • Manifest continuous spontaneous movement (which would prevent imaging)
  • Participation in another concurrent clinical trial.
  • Having undergone PET, CT, or other exam involving the use of ionizing radiation in the 12 months prior to the date of scheduled admission to Casa Colina.
  • Dependence on ventilator.

Trial design

16 participants in 1 patient group

Treatment LIFUP
Experimental group
LIFUP will be performed at the bedside using frameless stereotaxy. Specifically, the LIFUP transducer will be fit to the patient's head employing adjustable straps, and will be positioned over the patient's left temporal bone to minimize bone absorption and refraction. Accurate aiming will be ensured using the Brain Sight neuronavigation device, customized for tracking our LIFUP transducer. Following LIFUP, the patient will undergo a second EEG session, except for the EEG cap being fit to the patient's head prior to the LIFUP session so that, as soon as LIFUP administration is complete, the EEG paradigm can be promptly administered. The patient will then be allowed to rest (~1h).The patient will then be administered a second dose of tracer in order to undergo a second PET measurement. Finally, at the end-of-day, the clinical coordinator will collect an Adverse Event Questionnaire and will fit the PSG device for night monitoring.
Device: BX Pulsar 1002 (LIFUP) Low intensity Focused Ultrasound Pulsation

Trial contacts and locations



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