Responses to stimuli in the ‘snoezelen’ room in unresponsive wakefulness or in minimally responsive state

Hiela Lehrer, Ilil Dayan, Keren Elkayam, Adi Kfir, Uri Bierman, Lilach Front, Amiram Catz, Elena Aidinoff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Sensory stimulation in Snoezelen room increased responsiveness after brain injury and dementia. Objective: To explore the physiological and clinical effects of Snoezelen stimulation in persons with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome or minimally conscious state (UWS or MCS). Design: A comparative prospective observational cohort study. Methods: Ten patients with UWS and 25 in MCS were exposed to consecutive stimuli involving the 5 senses in a Snoezelen room. Heart rate (HR) and cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFV), and scores of the Loewenstein communication scale (LCS) were obtained before and during or after the stimuli. Results: The stimuli increased HR values and decreased left hemisphere CBFV values in patients with MCS (p < 0.05). Stimulation increased LCS scores (from 28.48 ± 6.55 to 31.13 ± 7.14; p < 0.001) in patients with MCS, but not in the UWS group. LCS gain correlated with HR and right hemisphere CBFV gains in patients with MCS (r = 0.439 and 0.636 respectively, p < 0.05). Conclusions: Snoezelen stimulation induced immediate improvement in communication and physiological changes in patients with MSC, and had a minor physiological effect in patients with UWS. If additional studies support these findings, it will be possible to suggest that Snoezelen stimulation can affect arousal, and possibly improve functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1167-1175
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2022


  • Snoezelen
  • brain injury
  • minimally conscious state
  • sensory stimuli
  • unresponsive wakefulness syndrome


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