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Neuropsychological Assessment and Management of People in States of Impaired Consciousness: An Overview of Some Recent Studies

  • Barbara A. Wilson (a1), Martin R. Coleman (a2) and John D. Pickard (a3)

Abstract

This article is concerned with patients in coma, the vegetative, or minimally conscious states. Studies addressing the issue of assessment and management of these patients are described. These include (a) the development of an assessment tool (Wessex Head Injury Matrix, WHIM); (b) use of the WHIM to assess the effects of posture on arousal, showing that some 75% of patients show more behaviours when assessed while they are in a standing frame than when supine; (c) a comparison of the WHIM with the Glasgow Coma Scale, demonstrating that the WHIM is more sensitive than the GCS for measuring the behavioural repertoire of people in states of reduced consciousness; (d) a discussion of situations when neuro-imaging techniques are required to assess residual functioning; and (e) the long term outcome of one of the first vegetative patients to be scanned with Positron Emission Tomography (PET). We conclude with a discussion about neuropsychology and patients in states of impaired consciousness.

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Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Barbara A Wilson, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Box 58, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, United Kingdom.

Keywords

Neuropsychological Assessment and Management of People in States of Impaired Consciousness: An Overview of Some Recent Studies

  • Barbara A. Wilson (a1), Martin R. Coleman (a2) and John D. Pickard (a3)

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