ANS52(1)32-39 - ACTIVITAS NERVOSA SUPERIOR Activitas...

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Activitas Nervosa Superior 2010; 52 :1,32-39 32 C LINICAL C ONTRIBUTIONS TO C ONSCIOUSNESS S TUDIES George A. Mashour * , Ashley Turner University of Michigan Medical School Ann Arbor, MI, USA Received August 20, 2009; accepted October 10, 2009 Abstract Consciousness is a multidisciplinary subject of inquiry. The extent of clinical contributions to the field of consciousness studies has yet to be investigated. The goal of this study was to assess the degree of clinically related articles in the lit- erature of consciousness studies through a systematic evaluation. Three journals systematically identified (Consciousness and Cognition, Journal of Consciousness Studies, and Anthropology of Consciousness) were reviewed from the first is- sue through December 2008. All original articles related to anesthesiology, general clinical medicine, neurology, neuro- surgery, and psychiatry were identified. Of the 1,805 articles reviewed for the three journals, a total of 149 clinically re- levant articles were identified; this represented an average contribution of 8% to the total articles. Psychiatry was the discipline most consistently represented in the three journals; neurosurgery was the least represented. There is a relative paucity of clinical articles in the literature of consciousness studies. Clinical perspectives may thus be underrepresented in the field. Key words: Consciousness; Consciousness studies; Meta-analysis INTRODUCTION The study of consciousness is a richly interdisciplinary endeavor, involving philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, physics, and numerous other fields. Clinical disciplines such as neurology, psychiatry, neurosurgery, and anesthesiology all deal with the disturbance or disruption of consciousness. As such, studies and reports related to these disciplines may potentially enrich the discourse of consciousness studies. For example, anesthesiologists regularly initiate a deep state of reversible unconsciousness, providing a unique opportunity for understanding the molecular and neurophysiologic mechanisms of consciousness. Similarly, the hallucinatory experiences of neuro- psychiatric patients or cognitive deficits of neurosurgical patients may yield insight into the neural substrates of consciousness through clinicopathologic correlation. Thus, the clinical perspective is vital to the progress of consciousness studies, but the extent of clinical contributions to the field has yet to be investigated. The goal of this study was therefore to assess the degree of clinically related articles in the literature of consciousness studies through a systematic evaluation. METHODS Journals devoted primarily to the publication of original articles on consciousness studies were identified systematically. A journal search on PubMed using the term “consciousness” yielded only Consciousness and Cognition. An internet search (Google) using the terms “consciousness journal” and “consciousness journals” further yielded Journal of Consciousness Studies, Psyche, Anthropology of Consciousness, International
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