Steven Laureys

Steven Laureys
University of Liège | ulg · GIGA Consciousness

MD PhD FEAN - Neurologist and neuroscientistBelgian Funds for Scientific Research
Always looking for opportunities and clinical, scientific & industrial partners to help our field make progress.

About

968
Publications
730,054
Reads
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59,613
Citations
Introduction
Fascinated by the study of the human mind and brain in both health and disease. Aiming to translate the latest knowledge and technologies in neuroscience and brain plasticity to a better medical care for patients. Enthusiastic speaker and writer of popular books. Co-signer of the Cambridge declaration of consciousness and defender of animal wellbeing. Founder of Mind Care International Foundation. www.drstevenlaureys.org
Additional affiliations
January 2019 - May 2020
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Liège
Position
  • Managing Director
May 2014 - present
University of Liège
Position
  • Managing Director
September 2012 - May 2020
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS)
Position
  • Research Director
Education
September 1986 - June 1993

Publications

Publications (968)
Article
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People with severe brain damage can suffer from a disorder of consciousness (DoC) such as a coma. They may be unconscious for decades, with little or no awareness of themselves or their surroundings, or they might emerge slowly into consciousness. People with DoCs usually cannot control any of their movements to respond to questions, so diagnosing...
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Objectives Long-term care of severe brain injury patients places a significant mental burden on family caregivers, yet few studies have reported the situation in China. We aimed to describe the mood states of family caregivers of patients with severe brain injury and examine the influencing factors that affect caregivers’ moods. Methods Cross-sect...
Preprint
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Consciousness has been proposed to be supported by electrophysiological patterns poised at criticality, a dynamical regime which exhibits adaptive computational properties, maximally complex patterns and divergent sensitivity to perturbation. Here, we investigated dynamical properties of the resting-state electroencephalogram of healthy subjects un...
Article
BACKGROUND: The number of patients with disorders of consciousness (DoC) has increased dramatically with the advancement of intensive care and emergency medicine, which brings tremendous economic burdens and even ethical issues to families and society. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of neuromodulation therapy for patients with DoC. METHOD...
Article
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The use of Brain–Computer Interfaces (BCI) as rehabilitation tools for chronically ill neurological patients has become more widespread. BCIs combined with other techniques allow the user to restore neurological function by inducing neuroplasticity through real-time detection of motor-imagery (MI) as patients perform therapy tasks. Twenty-five stro...
Article
Objectives We describe an atypical delayed neurologic recovery from coma and unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (i.e., persistent vegetative state) in a patient with severe drug-induced toxic leukoencephalopathy (presumably due to synthetic cannabinoid intake). Methods The patient underwent standardized behavioral and multimodal neuroimaging assess...
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Diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic procedures for patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness (pDoCs) vary significantly across countries and clinical settings, likely due to organizational factors (e.g., research vs. non-academic hospitals), expertise and availability of resources (e.g., financial and human). Two international guidelin...
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Self-induced cognitive trance (SICT) is a voluntary non-ordinary state of consciousness characterized by a lucid yet narrowed awareness of the external surroundings. It involves a hyper-focused immersive experience of flow, expanded inner imagery, modified somatosensory processing, and an altered perception of self and time. SICT is gaining attenti...
Preprint
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Significant advances in the scientific investigation of the neurobiology of consciousness have been slow to be translated into clinical settings, limited by factors of conceptual (e.g., what is consciousness?), methodological (e.g., how to identify reliable indicators of consciousness?), and technical (e.g., how to improve sensitivity and specifici...
Article
Background: Characterization of normal arousal states has been achieved by fitting predictions of corticothalamic neural field theory (NFT) to electroencephalographic (EEG) spectra to yield relevant physiological parameters. New method: A prior fitting method is extended to distinguish conscious and unconscious states in healthy and brain injure...
Article
Background: Over the past 5 decades, advances in neuroimaging have yielded insights into the pathophysiologic mechanisms that cause disorders of consciousness (DoC) in patients with severe brain injuries. Structural, functional, metabolic, and perfusion imaging studies have revealed specific neuroanatomic regions, such as the brainstem tegmentum,...
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Background: Cortical excitability is higher in unconsciousness than in wakefulness, but it is unclear how this relates to anaesthesia. We investigated cortical excitability in response to dexmedetomidine, the effects of which are not fully known. Methods: We recorded transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and EEG in frontal and parietal cortex...
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We assess cerebral integrity with cortical and subcortical FDG-PET and cortical electroencephalography (EEG) within the mesocircuit model framework in patients with disorders of consciousness (DoCs). The mesocircuit hypothesis proposes that subcortical activation facilitates cortical function. We find that the metabolic balance of subcortical mesoc...
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Background Improving the functional recovery of patients with DoC remains one of the greatest challenges of the field. Different theories exist about the role of the anterior (prefrontal areas) versus posterior (parietal areas) parts of the brain as hotspots for the recovery of consciousness. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a...
Preprint
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A fundamental challenge in neuroscience is accurately defining brain states and predicting how and where to perturb the brain to force a transition. The ability to promote a transition from one brain state to another by externally driven stimulation could significantly impact rehabilitation and treatments for patients suffering from complex brain i...
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Background and purpose: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been shown to improve signs of consciousness in a subset of patients with disorders of consciousness (DoC). However, no multicentre study confirmed its efficacy when applied during rehabilitation. In this randomized controlled double-blind study, the effects of tDCS whilst...
Preprint
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Neuroimaging studies have suggested an important role for the default mode network (DMN) in disorders of consciousness (DoC). However, the extent to which DMN connectivity can discriminate DoC states – unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (UWS) and minimally conscious state (MCS) – is less evident. Particularly, it is unclear whether effective DMN con...
Article
Hypnosis has been shown to be of clinical utility; however, its underlying neural mechanisms remain unclear. This study aims to investigate altered brain dynamics during the non-ordinary state of consciousness induced by hypnosis. We studied high-density EEG in 9 healthy participants during eyes-closed wakefulness and during hypnosis, induced by a...
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The study of the brain's dynamical activity is opening a window to help the clinical assessment of patients with disorders of consciousness. For example, glucose uptake and the dysfunctional spread of naturalistic and synthetic stimuli has proven useful to characterize hampered consciousness. However, understanding of the mechanisms behind loss of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Self-induced cognitive trance (SICT) is a voluntary non-ordinary consciousness (NOC) characterized by a lucid yet narrowed awareness of the external surroundings. It involves a hyper-focused immersive experience of flow, expanded inner imagery, modified somatosensory processing, and an altered perception of self and time. SICT is gaining attention...
Article
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Out-of-body experiences (OBEs) are subjective experiences of seeing one's own body and the environment from a location outside the physical body. They can arise spontaneously or in specific conditions, such as during the intake of dissociative drug. Given its unpredictable occurrence, one way to empirically study it is to induce subjective experien...
Article
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Brain states are frequently represented using a unidimensional scale measuring the richness of subjective experience (level of consciousness). This description assumes a mapping between the high-dimensional space of whole-brain configurations and the trajectories of brain states associated with changes in consciousness, yet this mapping and its pro...
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Lemon fragrance is known for its stimulating properties, but its mechanisms of action are not well known yet. This study aimed to examine the effect of lemon essential oil inhalation on healthy participants' alertness level and their neural correlates using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Twenty-one healthy men underwent functional MRI scans in d...
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IntroductionLittle is known about the potential personality and psychological predictors of near-death experiences (NDEs), and fewer yet those of near-death-like experiences (NDEs-like; similar phenomenology reported after a non-life-threatening context). This study investigated whether personality traits (Openness, Extraversion, Pleasantness, Cons...
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Background Patients with disorders of consciousness (DoC) are a challenging population prone to misdiagnosis with limited effective treatment options. Among neuromodulation techniques, transcutaneous auricular vagal nerve stimulation (taVNS) may act through a bottom-up manner to modulate thalamo-cortical connectivity and promote patients’ recovery....
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Background: The significant lack of rehabilitation prognostic data is the main reason that affects the treatment decision-making and ethical issues of patients with disorders of consciousness (DoC). Currently, the clinic's consciousness assessment tools cannot satisfy DoC patients' follow-up needs. Objective: The purpose of this study is to cons...
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Neurophysiological markers can overcome the limitations of behavioural assessments of Disorders of Consciousness (DoC). EEG alpha power emerged as a promising marker for DoC, although long-standing literature reported alpha power being sustained during anesthetic-induced unconsciousness, and reduced during dreaming and hallucinations. We hypothesiz...
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The assessment and management of pain and nociception is very challenging in patients unable to communicate functionally such as patients with disorders of consciousness (DoC) or in locked-in syndrome (LIS). In a clinical setting, the detection of signs of pain and nociception by the medical staff is therefore essential for the wellbeing and manage...
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Background. Many patients with severe brain damage may survive and remain in a prolonged disorder of consciousness (PDoC), impacting the quality of life (QoL) and needs of their family caregivers. However, the current literature on the factors influencing these needs is contradictory. We aim to describe the needs, QoL, and emotional distress of car...
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Background: Understanding the mechanisms underlying human consciousness is pivotal to improve the prognostication and treatment of severely brain-injured patients. Consciousness remains an elusive concept and the identification of its neural correlates is an active subject of research, however recent neuroscientific advances have allowed scientist...
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Exposure to altered g-levels causes unusual sensorimotor demands that must be dealt with by the brain. This study aimed to investigate whether fighter pilots, who are exposed to frequent g-level transitions and high g-levels, show differential functional characteristics compared to matched controls, indicative of neuroplasticity. We acquired restin...
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Patients with disorders of consciousness (DoC) represent a group of severely brain-injured patients with varying capacities for consciousness in terms of both wakefulness and awareness. The current state-of-the-art for assessing these patients is through standardised behavioural examinations, but inaccuracies are commonplace. Neuroimaging and elect...
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Background: So far, the few prospective studies on near-death experience (NDE) were carried out only in intensive care unit (ICU) patients with homogeneous aetiologies, such as cardiac arrest or trauma survivors. The aims of this 1-year prospective and monocentric study were to investigate the incidence of NDE in ICU survivors (all aetiologies) as...
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The prospect of continued manned space missions warrants an in-depth understanding of how prolonged microgravity affects the human brain. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can pinpoint changes reflecting adaptive neuroplasticity across time. We acquired resting-state fMRI data of cosmonauts before, shortly after, and eight months after s...
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No contemporary unifying framework has been provided for the study of non-ordinary states of consciousness (NSCs) despite increased interest in hypnosis, meditation, and psychedelics. NSCs induce shifts in experiential contents (what appears to the experiencer) and/or structure (how it appears). This can allow the investigation of the plastic and d...
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Abstract Background Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) carries prognostic importance after traumatic brain injury (TBI), especially when computed tomography (CT) fails to fully explain the level of unconsciousness. However, in critically ill patients, the risk of deterioration during transfer needs to be balanced against the benefit of detecting prog...
Article
Background: Nutritional status of patients with disorders of consciousness (DoC) is poorly studied. Objectives: To evaluate the relationship between nutritional status (body mass index, daily calories intake) and clinical variables (level of consciousness, time since injury, diagnosis, etiology and spastic muscle overactivity; SMO,) in patients...
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PurposeThe effect of high arterial oxygen levels and supplemental oxygen administration on outcomes in traumatic brain injury (TBI) is debated, and data from large cohorts of TBI patients are limited. We investigated whether exposure to high blood oxygen levels and high oxygen supplementation is independently associated with outcomes in TBI patient...
Chapter
Progress in intensive care efforts has increased the number of patients who survive severe acute brain damage. Although the majority of these patients recover from coma within the first days after the insult, some permanently lose all brain function (i.e., brain death), while others evolve to an unresponsive wakefulness syndrome or a minimally cons...
Article
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Background: Virtual reality hypnosis (VRH) has emerged as a new and promising option for pain management. Nonetheless, neural dynamics of pain modulation during VRH have not been investigated yet. The aim of this study was to measure the effects of VRH on pain, combining neurophysiological and self-reported measurements. Methods: Eighteen health...
Preprint
Full-text available
Brain states are frequently represented using a unidimensional scale measuring the richness of subjective experience (level of consciousness). This description assumes a mapping between the high-dimensional space of whole-brain configurations and the trajectories of brain states associated with changes in consciousness, yet this mapping and its pro...
Article
Full-text available
The self-organising global dynamics underlying brain states emerge from complex recursive nonlinear interactions between interconnected brain regions. Until now, most efforts of capturing the causal mechanistic generating principles have supposed underlying stationarity, being unable to describe the non-stationarity of brain dynamics, i.e. time-dep...
Article
Objective Although relatively costly and non-scalable, non-invasive neuromodulation interventions are treatment alternatives for neuropsychiatric disorders. The recent developments of highly-deployable transcranial electric stimulation (tES) systems, combined with mobile-Health technologies, could be incorporated in digital trials to overcome metho...
Preprint
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Background: Emerging evidence supports the view that brain stimulation might improve essential tremor (ET) by altering brain dynamics and facilitating brain plasticity. Yet, we are still missing a mechanistic explanation of the whole brain dynamics underlying these plasticity-defining changes. Method: In this study, we explored the effect of low-fr...
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Understanding recovery of consciousness and elucidating its underlying mechanism is believed to be crucial in the field of basic neuroscience and medicine. Ideas such as the global neuronal workspace and the mesocircuit theory hypothesize that failure of recovery in conscious states coincide with loss of connectivity between subcortical and frontop...
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This literature review explores a wide range of themes addressing the links between swallowing and consciousness. Signs of consciousness are historically based on the principle of differentiating reflexive from volitional behaviors. We show that the sequencing of the components of swallowing falls on a continuum of voluntary to reflex behaviors and...
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Significant advances have been made by identifying the levels of synchrony of the underlying dynamics of a given brain state. This research has demonstrated that non-conscious dynamics tend to be more synchronous than in conscious states, which are more asynchronous. Here we go beyond this dichotomy to demonstrate that different brain states are un...
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Diagnostic and prognostic assessment of patients with disorders of consciousness (DoC) presents ethical and clinical implications as they may affect the course of medical treatment and the decision to withdraw life-sustaining therapy. There has been increasing research in this field to lower misdiagnosis rates by developing standardized and consens...
Preprint
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We present here a unifying framework for affective phenomena: the Human Affectome. By synthesizing a large body of literature, we have converged on definitions that disambiguate the commonly used terms—affect, feeling, emotion, and mood. Based on this definitional foundation, and under the premise that affective states reflect allostatic concerns,...
Article
Computed tomography (CT) brain imaging is routinely used to support clinical decision-making in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Only 7% of scans, however, demonstrate evidence of TBI. The other 93% of scans contribute a significant cost to the healthcare system and a radiation risk to patients. There may be better strategies to identify...
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Objective To compare outcomes between patients with primary external ventricular device (EVD)–driven treatment of intracranial hypertension and those with primary intraparenchymal monitor (IP)–driven treatment. Methods The CENTER-TBI study is a prospective, multicenter, longitudinal observational cohort study that enrolled patients of all TBI seve...
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Complex metabolic disruption is a crucial aspect of the pathophysiology of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Associations between this and systemic metabolism and their potential prognostic value are poorly understood. Here, we aimed to describe the serum metabolome (including lipidome) associated with acute TBI within 24 h post-injury, and its relatio...
Article
Background Despite being well established, acute surgery in traumatic acute subdural haematoma is based on low-grade evidence. We aimed to compare the effectiveness of a strategy preferring acute surgical evacuation with one preferring initial conservative treatment in acute subdural haematoma. Methods We did a prospective, observational, comparat...
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This proceedings article presents actionable research targets on the basis of the presentations and discussions at the 2nd Curing Coma National Institutes of Health (NIH) symposium held from May 3 to May 5, 2021. Here, we summarize the background, research priorities, panel discussions, and deliverables discussed during the symposium across six maj...
Article
Introduction The incidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is increasingly common in older adults aged ≥65 years, forming a growing public health problem. However, older adults are underrepresented in TBI research. Therefore, we aimed to provide an overview of health-care utilization, and of six-month outcomes after TBI and their determinants in ol...
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Long-duration spaceflight induces changes to the brain and cerebrospinal fluid compartments and visual acuity problems known as spaceflight-associated neuro-ocular syndrome (SANS). The clinical relevance of these changes and whether they equally affect crews of different space agencies remain unknown. We used MRI to analyze the alterations occurrin...
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Transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) over the prefrontal cortex can improve signs of consciousness in patients in a minimally conscious state. Transcranial pulsed-current stimulation (tPCS) over the mastoids can modulate brain activity and connectivity in healthy controls. This study investigated the feasibility of tPCS as a therapeutic t...
Article
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Patients with locked-in syndrome (LIS) may suffer from pain, which can significantly affect their daily life and well-being. In this study, we aim to investigate the presence and the management of pain in LIS patients. Fifty-one participants completed a survey collecting socio-demographic information and detailed reports regarding pain perception a...
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Consciousness can be defined by two components: arousal (wakefulness) and awareness (subjective experience). However, neurophysiological consciousness metrics able to disentangle between these components have not been reported. Here, we propose an explainable consciousness indicator (ECI) using deep learning to disentangle the components of conscio...
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Humans undergo extreme physiological changes when subjected to long periods of weightlessness, and as we continue to become a space-faring species, it is imperative that we fully understand the physiological changes that occur in the human body, including the brain. In this study, we present findings of brain structural changes associated with long...
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Introduction A symptom cluster is very common among oncological patients: cancer-related fatigue (CRF), emotional distress, sleep difficulties, pain, and cognitive difficulties. Clinical applications of interventions based on non-ordinary states of consciousness, mostly hypnosis and meditation, are starting to be investigated in oncology settings....