Disorders of consciousness have captivated neurologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers for decades, but few consistent studies have been conducted on these conditions due to their difficult experimental approach. In recent years, an increasing number of cognitive neuroscience research groups have examined the physiology of consciousness from an experimental perspective, despite the methodological and epistemological complexities of the field. While describing consciousness can be challenging, a close definition must acknowledge a combination of wakefulness and awareness. Form a neurobiological standpoint, it has been argued that the ascending reticular system and its thalamic projections are critical in modulating awareness and wakefulness sleep cycles. Awareness may be a function of the neural networks within the cortex, the thalamus, and the cortico-cortical system. Different models have been employed to tackle this difficult problem, including non-invasive in vivo studies, examination of conscious patients with brain lesions, and studies on both animals and patients with disorders of consciousness. This article reviews the scientific evidence for the neural basis of conscious and unconscious processes in different states of consciousness, focusing on patients in the vegetative and minimally conscious state.
|Translated title of the contribution||Neurobiology of consciousness|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Vertex (Buenos Aires, Argentina)|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2008|