Abstract and Keywords
Progress in medical and intensive care has led to an increased number of patients who survive severe brain damage. Different clinical entities encountered on the gradual recovery from coma are illustrated as a function of cognitive and motor capacity. The evaluation of consciousness in coma survivors is challenging and sometimes erroneous. Behavioral assessment remains the classical way to assess consciousness in severely brain damaged patients. It also analyses various means to prevent complication and enhance recovery. The effectiveness of the treatment options remains debated. Understanding the state of awareness in such patients is of major medical and ethical interest. Neuroimaging and EEG studies in severely brain-damaged, non-communicative patients raise several methodological and ethical concerns.
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