Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Minimally Responsive State

  • Jacob Kean
  • Travis WilliamsEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_257


Minimally conscious state


The minimally responsive state is an older term that is synonymous with a minimally conscious state (MCS). MCS is a point along a continuum of consciousness in which the patient demonstrates limited awareness of self and the environment. MCS is characterized by inconsistent but appropriate verbal or gestural responses, intelligible verbalization, and non-reflexive, purposeful behavior.

Current Knowledge


The diagnosis of MCS depends on the demonstration of one or more of the following in a sustained or reproducible way: comprehension of simple commands, gestural or verbal yes/no responses, intelligible verbalization, or purposeful behavior. These may be elicited using the JFK Coma Recovery Scale-Revised (Giacino et al. 2004) or through individual quantitative assessment, such as that described by (Giacino and Whyte 2005).


The natural history, prognostic factors, and outcomes related to MCS are difficult to discern because...

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References and Readings

  1. Giacino, J. T., & Whyte, J. (2005). The vegetative and minimally conscious states: Current knowledge and remaining questions. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 20, 30–50.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Giacino, J. T., Ashwal, S., Childs, N., Cranford, R., Jennett, B., Katz, D. I., et al. (2002). The minimally conscious state: Definition and diagnostic criteria. Neurology, 58, 349–353.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Giacino, J. T., Kalmar, K., & Whyte, J. (2004). The JFK Coma Recovery Scale – Revised: Measurement characteristics and diagnostic utility. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 85, 2020–2029.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Whyte, J., Katz, D., Long, D., DiPasquale, M., Polansky, M., Kalmar, K. K., et al. (2005). Predictors of outcome in prolonged posttraumatic disorders of consciousness and assessment of medication effects: A multicenter study. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 86, 453–462.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Wijdicks, E. F. M., & Cranford, R. E. (2005). Clinical diagnosis of prolonged states of impaired consciousness in adults. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 8, 1037–1046.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationIndiana UniversityIndianapolisUSA