Detecting Awareness in the Vegetative State

  title={Detecting Awareness in the Vegetative State},
  author={A. Owen and M. Coleman and M. Boly and Matthew H. Davis and Steven Laureys and J. Pickard},
  pages={1402 - 1402}
We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to demonstrate preserved conscious awareness in a patient fulfilling the criteria for a diagnosis of vegetative state. When asked to imagine playing tennis or moving around her home, the patient activated predicted cortical areas in a manner indistinguishable from that of healthy volunteers. 

Topics from this paper

Disorders of consciousness: Diagnostic accuracy of brain imaging in the vegetative state
  • A. Owen
  • Medicine, Psychology
  • Nature Reviews Neurology
  • 2014
A new report compares the diagnostic accuracy of two neuroimaging methods, using bedside behavioural assessment as a reference, and highlights the many theoretical and methodological challenges in studying this patient group. Expand
Response to Comments on "Detecting Awareness in the Vegetative State"
Additional data, supported by relevant functional neuroimaging literature, confirm that the “normal” patterns of brain activity reported in a patient who was clinically diagnosed as vegetative couldExpand
Is There Awareness in the Vegetative State
In the vegetative state, patients appear to be awake but show no signs of awareness. A British team used functional MRI to study brain function in a
Is She Conscious?
Brain imaging reveals unexpected activity in a patient clinically diagnosed as being in a vegetative state, raising questions about the properties of consciousness.
Comment on "Detecting Awareness in the Vegetative State"
It is argued that the presence of task-specific brain activation in response to verbal command implies both covert conscious awareness and a capacity for intention and neither can be securely inferred from the evidence presented. Expand
Neuroimaging, impaired states of consciousness, and public outreach
Functional neuroimaging is emerging as a novel tool to evaluate patients with disorders of consciousness. This Viewpoint looks at one of the most vexing ethical challenges resulting from thisExpand
Measurements of consciousness in the vegetative state
Patients in the vegetative state showed that three of the 16 patients could generate EEG responses to two commands involving motor imagery, although the patients were otherwise behaviourally unresponsive. Expand
Electrophysiology in Disorders of Consciousness: From Conventional EEG Visual Analysis to Brain-Computer Interfaces
Electroencephalography can offer many insights into brain activity useful for the study of disorders of consciousness. In this chapter, we will focus on the state of knowledge regarding theExpand
Extending Communication for Patients with Disorders of Consciousness
  • X. Liang, L. Kuhlmann, +6 authors M. Cook
  • Medicine
  • Journal of neuroimaging : official journal of the American Society of Neuroimaging
  • 2014
The aim is to communicate with patients with disorders of consciousness through asking them to answer questions with “yes/no” by performing mental imagery tasks using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Expand
The Assessment of Conscious Awareness in the Vegetative State
The assessment of patients in the vegetative state is extremely complex and depends frequently on subjective interpretations of the observed spontaneous and volitional behavior. In recent years, aExpand


Residual cerebral activity and behavioural fragments can remain in the persistently vegetative brain.
The variations in cerebral metabolism in chronic PVS patients indicate that some cerebral regions can retain partial function in catastrophically injured brains. Expand