A measure of neurobehavioral functioning after coma. Part II: Clinical and scientific implementation

Theresa Louise Bender Pape*, Ricardo G. Senno, Ann Guernon, James P. Kelly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This longitudinal validation study is Part II of a two-part series. Part I focuses on the methods used to construct the neurobehavioral measure derived from the Disorders of Consciousness Scale (DOCS) as well as the evidence of reliability and validity. Part II illustrates, through a series of selected case reports, the clinical use of repeated DOCS measures to enhance and complement medical rehabilitation management. The use of repeated DOCS measures in scientific investigations of mechanisms of injury is also described. Participants included patients at rehabilitation hospitals who were 18 years of age and older and unconscious after severe brain injury. Medical decision making regarding short-term effects of pharmacological intervention was augmented and improved through the examination of individual neurobehavioral recovery patterns. We identified medications to treat secondary medical complications and successfully determined effective dosage, presumably improving prognosis for recoveiy. We facilitated and enhanced development and refinement of individualized rehabilitation programs. Two investigations of treatment effectiveness dunng coma recovery and examination of the relationship between behavioral changes and neural adaptation are also described. By systematically tracking and mapping individual patterns of neurobehavioral recovery, we show that medical and rehabilitation management after coma can be enhanced. In addition, we also show that by examining the relationship between the DOCS neurobehavioral measure with mechanistic indicators of neurological recovery such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, scientific investigations of treatment and rehabilitation effectiveness can be enhanced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-28
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • Brain injury
  • Coma recovery
  • Measurement
  • Medical management
  • Outcomes
  • Prognostication
  • Translation of research into practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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