Laboratory for NeuroImaging of Coma and Consciousness

Dr. Brian Edlow’s Laboratory for NeuroImaging of Coma and Consciousness (NICC) aims to improve acute care and long-term outcomes for patients with coma and other disorders of consciousness caused by traumatic brain injury.

NICC in the News: 2015

2014 NEWS

2013 NEWS

Investigating Traumatic Brain Injury

Our mission at the Laboratory for NeuroImaging of Coma and Consciousness (NICC) at Massachusetts General Hospital is to determine how patients recover consciousness after a severe traumatic brain injury and to promote the recovery process.

We use advanced structural and functional imaging techniques to identify brain networks whose connectivity and activation is critical to the restoration of consciousness.

We believe the identification of these brain networks will allow clinicians to provide patient families with more accurate prognoses and will ultimately enable the development of personalized treatments aimed at promoting recovery.

While the NICC’s mission is to improve outcomes for civilians and military personnel with traumatic brain injury, we also partner with other labs to study recovery of consciousness in patients with coma caused by cardiac arrest, hemorrhage and stroke.

Support our research












Principal Investigator:

Brian L. Edlow, MD

Brian L. Edlow, MD
Associate Director, Massachusetts General Hospital Neurotechnology Trials Unit
Director, Mass General Critical Care Research Neuroimaging
Instructor in Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Affiliated Faculty, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
View Dr. Edlow's physician profile

Lee Tirrell

Post-doctoral Research Fellow:

Camille Chatelle
M.Sc., University of Brussels, Belgium
Ph.D., University of Liege, Belgium

Research Assistants and Clinical Research Coordinators:

Allison Moreau

Allison Moreau
B.A., Wheaton College

Camille Spencer

Camille Spencer
B.S., Brown University

Lee Tirrell

Lee Tirrell

B.S, Northeastern University
M.Phil., University of Hong Kong

Ani Varjabedian

Ani Varjabedian
B.S., University of Maine

Ongoing Research StudiesTraumatic Coma RESPONSE Study

Traumatic Coma RESPONSE Study (REsting and Stimulus-based Paradigms to detect Organized NetworkS and predict Emergence of consciousness): an MRI and EEG study of brain network structure and function in patients with acute traumatic coma. 

The primary goal of this multimodal neuroimaging study is to determine if acute, advanced MRI and EEG predict 6-month outcomes better than current clinical predictors. 

The secondary goal of this study is to identify longitudinal changes within brain networks that enable recovery of consciousness and communication.

Ex Vivo Connectomics of Traumatic Coma

Ex Vivo Connectomics of Traumatic Coma: a postmortem imaging and histopathological study of brain specimens from patients who have died after severe traumatic brain injury. 

The primary goal of this correlative histo-radiologic study is to identify the specific circuits within the brainstem ascending arousal network and cortical default mode network that are necessary and sufficient for recovery of consciousness after traumatic coma.

Secondary goals of this study include:

  • Validation of structural connectivity imaging (i.e. diffusion tractography) with “gold standard” histopatholgical data
  • Development of a multimodal autopsy protocol that integrates ex vivo radiologic and histopathological data to advance knowledge about the neuroanatomic basis of coma and consciousness

Recent NICC Publications

Edlow BL, Takahashi E, Wu O, Benner T, Dai G, Bu L, Grant PE, Greer DM, Greenberg SM, Kinney HC, Folkerth RD. Neuroanatomic connectivity of the human ascending arousal system critical to consciousness and its disorders. Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology. 2012;71:531-546.  PMCID: PMC3387430.

Edlow BL, Wu O. Advanced neuroimaging in traumatic brain injury. Seminars in Neurology. 2012;32:372-398. PMCID: PMC3779469.

Edlow BL, Haynes RL, Takahashi E, Klein JP, Cummings P, Benner T, Greer DM, Greenberg SM, Wu O, Kinney HC*, Folkerth RD*. Disconnection of the ascending arousal system in traumatic coma. Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology. 2013;72:505-523. (*co-senior authors) PMCID: PMC3761353.

McNab JA*, Edlow BL*, Witzel T, Huang SY, Bhat H, Heberlein K, Feiweier T, Liu K, Keil B, Cohen-Adad J, Tisdall MD, Folkerth RD, Kinney HC, Wald LL. The Human Connectome Project and beyond: Initial applications of 300 mT/m gradientsNeuroImage. 2013;80:234-245. (*co-first authors) PMCID: PMC3812060.

Edlow BL*, Giacino JT*, Hirschberg RE, Gerrard J, Wu O**, Hochberg LR**. Unexpected recovery of function after severe traumatic brain injury: The limits of early neuroimaging-based outcome prediction. Neurocritical Care; 2013;19: 364-375. (*co-first authors, **co-senior authors) PMCID: PMC3902071.

Edlow BL, Giacino JT, Wu O. Functional MRI and outcome in traumatic coma. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports. 2013;13:375. PMCID: PMC3811121.

Brian L. Edlow, MD

175 Cambridge St.
Suite 300
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-724-6352

Public Transportation Access: yes
Disabled Access: yes