Right (to a) Diagnosis? Establishing Correct Diagnoses in Chronic Disorders of Consciousness

Neuroethics 6 (1):5-11 (2013)
Chronic disorders of consciousness, particularly the vegetative and the minimally conscious states, pose serious diagnostic challenges to neurologists and clinical psychologists. A look at the concept of “diagnosis” in medicine reveals its social construction: While medical categorizations are intended to describe facts in the real world, they are nevertheless dependent on conventions and agreements between experts and practitioners. For chronic disorders of consciousness in particular, the terminology has proven problematic and controversial over the years. Novel research utilizing functional brain imaging has demonstrated that a substantial number of patients retain their capabilities to communicate by brain activity even when they are incapable of classic verbal and nonverbal responses due to the dysfunction of their motor behavior. Moreover, thorough diagnostic assessments constitute the foundations for suitable rehabilitation measures. Thus, ethical arguments support the claim that the potential of emerging methods for communication via brain activity should be evaluated comprehensively in patients with chronic disorders of consciousness, once the technological methodology for this endeavor progresses to a reliable and affordable stage
Keywords Chronic disorders of consciousness  Vegetative state  Functional brain imaging  fMRI  Medical ethics  Diagnosis in medicine
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s12152-012-9154-8
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 33,245
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Principles of Biomedical Ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - Oxford University Press.
A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume - 1738 - Oxford University Press.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Chronic Disorders of Consciousness.James L. Bernat - 2006 - Lancet 367 (9517):1181-1192.
Neuroethics and Neuroimaging: Moving Toward Transparency.Joseph J. Fins - 2008 - American Journal of Bioethics 8 (9):46 – 52.
The Scientific Study of Consciousness.Christopher D. Frith - 2003 - In Maria A. Ron & Trevor W. Robbins (eds.), Disorders of Brain and Mind 2. Cambridge University Press. pp. 197-222.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
32 ( #186,289 of 2,242,839 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #86,477 of 2,242,839 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature