Subject and Family Perspectives from the Central Thalamic Deep Brain Stimulation Trial for Traumatic Brain Injury: Part II

Joseph J. Fins, Megan S. Wright, Kaiulani S. Shulman, Jaimie M. Henderson, Nicholas D. Schiff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This is the second paper in a two-part series describing subject and family perspectives from the CENTURY-S (CENtral Thalamic Deep Brain Stimulation for the Treatment of Traumatic Brain InjURY-Safety) first-in-human invasive neurological device trial to achieve cognitive restoration in moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (msTBI). To participate, subjects were independently assessed to formally establish decision-making capacity to provide voluntary informed consent. Here, we report on post-operative interviews conducted after a successful trial of thalamic stimulation. All five msTBI subjects met a pre-selected primary endpoint of at least a 10% improvement in completion time on Trail-Making-Test Part B, a marker of executive function. We describe narrative responses of subjects and family members, refracted against that success. Interviews following surgery and the stimulation trial revealed the challenge of adaptation to improvements in cognitive function and emotional regulation as well as altered (and restored) relationships and family dynamics. These improvements exposed barriers to social reintegration made relevant by recoveries once thought inconceivable. The study's success sparked concerns about post-trial access to implanted devices, financing of device maintenance, battery replacement, and on-going care. Most subjects and families identified the need for supportive counseling to adapt to the new trajectory of their lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy

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