Reforming the taxonomy in disorders of consciousness

Ann Neurol. 2017 Dec;82(6):866-872. doi: 10.1002/ana.25088. Epub 2017 Dec 4.


This article examines the serious shortcomings that characterize the current taxonomy of postcomatose disorders of consciousness (DoC), and it provides guidelines for how an improved DoC taxonomy might be developed. In particular, it is argued that behavioral criteria for the application of DoC categories should be supplemented with brain-based criteria (eg, information derived from electroencephalography and functional magnetic resonance imaging), and that the categorical framework that currently characterizes DoC should be replaced by a multidimensional framework that better captures the performance of patients across a range of cognitive and behavioural tasks. Ann Neurol 2017;82:866-872.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Classification
  • Consciousness / physiology*
  • Consciousness Disorders / classification*
  • Consciousness Disorders / diagnosis
  • Consciousness Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Metacognition / physiology
  • Volition / physiology