Salcman, M., in: G. Leidloff: "l o g - i n / l o c k e d  o u t", in: O. Breidbach, K. Clausberg und K.P. Dencker (Hg.): Video, ergo sum, Hamburg 1999


"Coma vigil is an imprecise term that has been applied to a number of situations. In one type, the unfortunate victim has a lesion that disconnects the cerebral hemispheres from all areas below the level of the oculomotor nucleus in the brain stem. Hence the eyes can open but no other movement is possible. If the patient "hears" or receives any information, it is not possible to signal a response except by blinking (i.e. the patient is "locked in" but conscious). In the true coma vigil, the lesion is thought to be higher in the diencephalon, in the upper reaches of the seat of consciousness. Once again, the eyes are open but the patient is unconscious, does not receive most information and although appearing "alert" actually does not process any data, does not "think"."

Michael Salcman, M.D.