Neuroethics and disorders of consciousness: Discerning brain states in clinical practice and research

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Decisions about end-of-life care and participation in clinical research for patients with disorders of consciousness begin with diagnostic discernment. Accurately distinguishing between brain states clarifies clinicians' ethical obligations and responsibilities. Central to this effort is the obligation to provide neuropalliative care for patients in the minimally conscious state who can perceive pain and to restore functional communication through neuroprosthetics, drugs, and rehabilitation to patients with intact but underactivated neural networks. Efforts to bring scientific advances to patients with disorders of consciousness are reviewed, including the investigational use of deep brain stimulation in patients in the minimally conscious state. These efforts help to affirm the civil rights of a population long on the margins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1182-1191
Number of pages10
JournalAMA Journal of Ethics
Volume18
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy

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