Anatomy and Cell Biology Publications

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-2017

Journal

ANNALS OF CLINICAL AND TRANSLATIONAL NEUROLOGY

Volume

4

Issue

1

First Page

61

Last Page

70

URL with Digital Object Identifier

10.1002/acn3.376

Abstract

Despite the apparent absence of external signs of consciousness, a significant proportion of behaviorally nonresponsive patients can respond to commands by willfully modulating their brain activity. However, little is known about the mental life of these patients. We discuss a recent innovative approach, which sheds light on the preserved cognitive capacities of these patients, including executive function, theory of mind, and the experience of affective states. This research represents a fundamental shift in our understanding of these patients, and has important implications for both their continued treatment and care. Moreover, this research marks out avenues for future inquiry into the residual cognitive capacities of these patients.

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