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Measuring Consciousness in the Clinic

Measuring Consciousness in the Clinic
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Author(s): Nithin Nagaraj (Consciousness Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru, India)
Copyright: 2020
Pages: 12
Source title: Biomedical and Clinical Engineering for Healthcare Advancement
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): N. Sriraam (Ramaiah Institute of Technology, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0326-3.ch004

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Abstract

We don't doubt for a moment that we are conscious, but what is ‘Consciousness'? Understanding consciousness, its nature, and characteristics has remained a hard problem for several centuries. While philosophers, neuroscientists, physicists, psychologists, and psychiatrists grapple with this hard problem, clinicians are in need of a practical way to ‘measure' consciousness (or its surrogate). Determining whether a patient is conscious or not, and measuring the degree of consciousness, could be critical and potentially life-saving in a clinical scenario. In this chapter, we will review recent scientific approaches for modelling and measuring consciousness, and their clinical applications with an emphasis on a host of issues (theoretical, philosophical, methodological, technological, & clinical) and challenges that need to be satisfactorily and convincingly addressed going forward.

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