Document Detail

Detecting awareness in the vegetative state.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18591475     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The assessment of residual brain function in the vegetative state, is extremely difficult and depends frequently on subjective interpretations of observed spontaneous and volitional behaviors. For those patients who retain peripheral motor function, rigorous behavioral assessment supported by structural imaging and electrophysiology is usually sufficient to establish a patient's level of wakefulness and awareness. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that, in some patients, damage to the peripheral motor system may prevent overt responses to command, even though the cognitive ability to perceive and understand such commands may remain intact. Advances in functional neuroimaging suggest a novel solution to this problem; in several recent cases, so-called "activation" studies have been used to identify residual cognitive function and even conscious awareness in patients who are assumed to be vegetative, yet retain cognitive abilities that have evaded detection using standard clinical methods.
Adrian M Owen; Martin R Coleman
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences     Volume:  1129     ISSN:  0077-8923     ISO Abbreviation:  Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci.     Publication Date:  2008  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-07-01     Completed Date:  2008-07-18     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7506858     Medline TA:  Ann N Y Acad Sci     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  130-8     Citation Subset:  IM    
MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, 15 Chaucer Road, Cambridge CB2 7EF, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Awareness / physiology*
Cognition / physiology
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Persistent Vegetative State / physiopathology*
Speech / physiology

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