Toward an interventional science of recovery after coma.

TitleToward an interventional science of recovery after coma.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsSchiff ND
Date Published2024 May 15
KeywordsComa, Consciousness, Humans, Persistent Vegetative State, Recovery of Function

Recovery of consciousness after coma remains one of the most challenging areas for accurate diagnosis and effective therapeutic engagement in the clinical neurosciences. Recovery depends on preservation of neuronal integrity and evolving changes in network function that re-establish environmental responsiveness. It typically occurs in defined steps: it begins with eye opening and unresponsiveness in a vegetative state, then limited recovery of responsiveness characterizes the minimally conscious state, and this is followed by recovery of reliable communication. This review considers several points for novel interventions, for example, in persons with cognitive motor dissociation in whom a hidden cognitive reserve is revealed. Circuit mechanisms underlying restoration of behavioral responsiveness and communication are discussed. An emerging theme is the possibility to rescue latent capacities in partially damaged human networks across time. These opportunities should be exploited for therapeutic engagement to achieve individualized solutions for restoration of communication and environmental interaction across varying levels of recovery.

Alternate JournalNeuron
PubMed ID38754372