Although his phone rings constantly, he takes the time to talk to me about the fine points of what consciousness is and how to identify it in patients who seem to lack it. To provide proper care, physicians and family members need to know whether patients have some degree of awareness. The interview has been edited for clarity. There is no single definition. But of course, in clinical practice we need unambiguous criteria. Consciousness is often underestimated; much more is going on in the brains of newborns, animals and coma patients than we think. There are a number of ways to go about it, and the technology we have at our disposal is crucial in this regard. For example, without brain scanners we would know much, much less than we now do. We study the damaged brains of people who have at least partially lost consciousness.
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A coma is a deep state of prolonged unconsciousness in which a person cannot be awakened; fails to respond normally to painful stimuli, light, or sound; lacks a normal wake-sleep cycle; and does not initiate voluntary actions. Clinically, a coma can be defined as the inability to consistently follow a one-step command. For a patient to maintain consciousness, the components of wakefulness and awareness must be maintained. Wakefulness describes the quantitative degree of consciousness , whereas awareness relates to the qualitative aspects of the functions mediated by the cortex, including cognitive abilities such as attention, sensory perception, explicit memory, language, the execution of tasks, temporal and spatial orientation and reality judgment. Subsequently, it was hardly used in the known literature up to the middle of the 17th century. The term carus is also derived from Greek, where it can be found in the roots of several words meaning soporific or sleepy.
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To save this word, you'll need to log in. Send us feedback. See more words from the same year Dictionary Entries near comatose comarca comart comate comatose comatula comatulid coma vigil. Accessed 5 Aug. Keep scrolling for more More Definitions for comatose comatose. Please tell us where you read or heard it including the quote, if possible. Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way. Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free! And who put it there, anyway?
He had been riding with a friend when their car plunged into a creek. When they were found under a bridge the next day, his friend was dead and Wallis was comatose. But now, 19 years later, he was talking. He apparently had no memories of the intervening time. In his world, Ronald Reagan was still president.