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Detecting Levels of Consciousness
Demertzi, Athina; Laureys, Steven
2015In Levy, N; Clausen, J (Eds.) Handbook of Neuroethics
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Abstract :
[en] Patients with disordered consciousness due to brain injury pose medical and ethical challenges. Rates of clinical misdiagnosis of “vegetative”/unresponsive, minimally conscious and locked-in syndrome states remain challengingly high. Clinical misdiagnosis raises profound ethical concerns in terms of medical management, treatment of pain, and end-of-life decisions. Therefore, valid diagnosis is of utmost importance in clinical settings. A number of neuroimaging and electrophysiology studies now suggest that some behaviorally “vegetative state” patients may nevertheless show atypical cortical activation during resting state conditions; in some cases, they are able to follow commands or even communicate through willfully modified brain activity. Advances in investigating disorders of consciousness with neuroimaging techniques promise to lead to a more accurate understanding of individual patients’ cognitive abilities and to shed light on the gray zones of these clinical conditions. The formulation of an ethical framework which will strike a balance between the protection of these patients and further research on disorders of consciousness is an ethical, clinical, and scientific demand.
Disciplines :
Philosophy & ethics
Author, co-author :
Demertzi, Athina  ;  Université de Liège > Centre de recherches du cyclotron
Laureys, Steven  ;  Université de Liège > GIGA : Coma Group
Language :
Title :
Detecting Levels of Consciousness
Publication date :
Main work title :
Handbook of Neuroethics
Editor :
Levy, N
Clausen, J
Publisher :
Springer, Dordrecht, Netherlands
Pages :
Peer reviewed :
Peer reviewed
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since 03 January 2017


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