The neural correlate of (un)awareness: lessons from the vegetative state
Keywords:consciousness, coma, vegetative state, awareness, sleep, sleepwalking, epilepsia, neural correlate
Deposited by:Dr Steven Laureys
Date of Issue:2005
Journal/Publication Title:Trends Cogn Sc
Abstract:The vegetative state is characterized by wakefulness without awareness. Awareness is difficult to asses in non-communicative patients. Functional neuroimaging shows that some parts of the cortex are still functioning in “vegetative” patients. External - for example painful - stimulation in these patients still activates “primary” sensory cortices but these are functionally disconnected form “higher order” associative areas needed for awareness. Such studies are disentangling the neural correlates of the vegetative from the minimally conscious state and have major clinical consequences.