The term minimally conscious state describes a person who
shows intermittent, but clear evidence of awaremess of themselves and their
environment. This condition describes a broad spectrum of purposeful
At the lowest level a person might demonstrate visual fixation
or tracking a moving object. At the highest level the person might
intermittently, but reproducibly, respond to command using movement or speech.
Critically the minimally conscious state is distinguished from the vegetative
state by often inconsistent, but crucially reproducible, evidence of awareness
of self or environment, and/or purposeful and reproducible responses to sensory
Just like someone in a vegetative state they also demonstrate
evidence of eye opening and sleep wake cycles, but basic reflexes are typically
diminished and replaced by purposeful behavior.