Recovery of consciousness after brain injury: a mesocircuit hypothesis Review uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Brain Injuries
  • Coma, Post-Head Injury
  • Recovery of Function


  • Recovery of consciousness following severe brain injuries can occur over long time intervals. Importantly, evolving cognitive recovery can be strongly dissociated from motor recovery in some individuals, resulting in underestimation of cognitive capacities. Common mechanisms of cerebral dysfunction that arise at the neuronal population level may explain slow functional recoveries from severe brain injuries. This review proposes a "mesocircuit" model that predicts specific roles for different structural and dynamic changes that may occur gradually during recovery. Recent functional neuroimaging studies that operationally identify varying levels of awareness, memory and other higher brain functions in patients with no behavioral evidence of these cognitive capacities are discussed. Measuring evolving changes in underlying brain function and dynamics post-injury and post-treatment frames future investigative work.

publication date

  • January 2010



  • Review



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC2931585

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.tins.2009.11.002

PubMed ID

  • 19954851

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 9


  • 33


  • 1