A model to explain disorders of consciousness and cognition in the brain and nervous system

Gerry Leisman, Robert Melillo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


We will explain why despite children with autistic Spectrum disorder (ASD) having a possible common neurological basis, differing symptoms present from one child to another. The explanation is that a primary problem relates to the failure to achieve equal activity and resonance in both right and left cerebral hemispheres, in general and in local brain interconnectivities in particular. There exists an asymmetric distribution of almost all human functions within the cerebral cortex including cognitive, motor, sensory, neurohormonal, immune, autonomic, and endocrine. Failure to develop and achieve temporal coherence between brain regions will result in a form of functional independence of brain regions, resulting in dysfunction in the adaptive functioning of the brain and its control properties. This may sometime result in high degrees of functioning in specific tasks, and dysfunction in others. An example is the savant syndrome, but the same process is seen throughout all disorders in the spectrum and may even be a basis for individual differences in cognitive style. We will discuss the ramifications of viewing many of the cognitive and motor effects of developmental disabilities as based on a functional disconnection syndrome. Additionally, it will be noted that in these children, global functions are not affected, but many specific functions are decreased while others are enhanced, demonstrating region specific brain effects. We will also attempt to explain how the process of functional disconnection may inform altered and disordered states of consciousness.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConsidering Consciousness Clinically
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages44
ISBN (Electronic)9781634842617
ISBN (Print)9781634842600
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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