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Abstract

Recent developments in functional neuroimaging have provided a number of new tools for assessing patients who clinically appear to be in a vegetative or minimally conscious state. These techniques have been able to reveal awareness and even allow rudimentary communication, in some patients who remain entirely behaviorally nonresponsive. In some centers, these methods are now being employed routinely in the assessment of severely brain-injured patients, mapping patterns of residual function and dysfunction and helping to reduce diagnostic errors in these conditions. The implications of these results extend well beyond the immediate clinical and scientific findings to suggest an urgent need for a reevaluation of the existing diagnostic guidelines for behaviorally nonresponsive patients to include information derived from functional neuroimaging.

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Acknowledgments

This work was funded by generous awards to Adrian M. Owen from the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) Program, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

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Correspondence to Adrian M. Owen .

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Owen, A.M., Naci, L. (2016). Decoding Thoughts in Disorders of Consciousness. In: Monti, M., Sannita, W. (eds) Brain Function and Responsiveness in Disorders of Consciousness. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-21425-2_6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-21425-2_6

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-21424-5

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-21425-2

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