Do we need a theory-based assessment of consciousness in the field of disorders of consciousness?

Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8:402 (2014)
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Adequate assessment of (un)consciousness is not only of theoretical interest but also has a practical and ethical importance, especially when it comes to disorders of consciousness (DOC). Accurately determining the presence or absence of consciousness in patients with DOC allows informed decisions to be made about long-term care support, referral for rehabilitation, pain management and withdrawal of life support. We believe that a theoretical account of what conscious experience is and how it emerges within the brain will advance the search for appropriate neuromarkers of the presence or absence of consciousness in non-communicative brain-damaged patients.



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