Locked In Syndrome is also known as cerebromedullaspinal disconnection, de-efferented state and pseudocoma [1] and is a rare neurological disorder where the patient is conscious, awake and retain their sleep-wake cycles but can’t move or speak due to having complete paralysis of all of their voluntary muscles. The cognitive ability of the individual which is the ability to perceive information, their memory and reasoning remain unaffected which allows the individual to be able to sustain some form of communication by blinking.

Locked In Syndrome is caused by damage to the pons usually due to tissue loss due to a lack of blood flow or from bleeding [1], which is a part of the brain that controls the neuronal pathways between the cerebellum, cerebrum and the spinal cord, interrupting the motor connections from the brain to the body muscles and damaging the areas in the brainstem that are instrumental in facial control and speech.

It is most likely in adults with a high risk of brain stroke and bleeding but affects people of all ages [1]. Because Locked In Syndrome is so rare, the clinical tests that are needed to diagnose it are extensive to rule out any other possible conditions. MRI scans show the damage to the pons and an electroencephalogram/ EEG gives evidence of normal brain activity and sleep-wake patterns in the patient’s brain. In treatment, the cause of the disorder is targeted like the brain tumour that causes the symptoms and after this there is rehabilitation of the parts of the patients’ movement that remain or can be recovered. There are many devices to aid communication and for those that recover hand control- half of those affected- can use these to communicate using a computer and may even be able to control a wheelchair. It is extremely rare for complete normal motor control and actions like swallowing and speaking to be recovered.

Website used:

[1] https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/locked-in-syndrome/

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