Joseph Giacino PhD

DSC_0660Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
Director, Neurorehabiliation Lab
Director, Rehabilitation Neuropsychology
Director, SRN Disorders of Consciousness Program
Project Director, Spaulding-Harvard TBI Model System

Massachusetts General Hospital
Department of Psychiatry
Consulting Neuropsychologist

Harvard Medical School
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Associate Professor

Research Interests:
Disorders of Consciousness
Brain Injury Rehabilitation
Novel Assessments of Consciousness



Dr. Giacino’s clinical and research activities are centered on the development and application of novel assessment and treatment methods for individuals with severe acquired brain injury (ABI) and disorders of consciousness (DOC). He served as co-chair of the Aspen Workgroup (responsible for developing the diagnostic criteria for the minimally conscious state [MCS) and was co-lead author of the Mohonk Report, which provided recommendations to the U.S. Congress for lifelong care of patients with DOC.

He currently chairs the VS/MCS Guideline Development Panel, co-sponsored by the American Academy of Neurology, American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, and charged with revising existing guidelines for management of patients with DOC. He is principle investigator on a project funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to develop novel fMRI paradigms to assess the integrity of language and visual processing networks in patients with DOC. He also served as  Project Director of a recently-completed, NIDRR-funded 12-site clinical trial of amantadine hydrochloride (AH) designed to determine whether AH facilitates functional recovery in patients with prolonged disturbances in consciousness, and was Co-PI of an FDA-approved pilot study of deep brain stimulation aimed at promoting recovery of speech and motor functions in patients with chronic post-traumatic MCS. Dr. Giacino has also served a term as President of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and as a Department of Veterans Affairs Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers Emerging Consciousness Program Subject Matter Expert.

Representative Publications:

  1. Giacino J, Fins J, Laureys S, Schiff N. Disorders of consciousness: The state of the science. Nature Reviews Neurology 2014;10(2):99-114.
  2. Hicks R,Giacino JT, Harrison-Felix C,Manley G,Valadka A,Wilde EA. Progress in developing common Data Elements for Traumatic Brain Injury Research: Version 2 – The End of the Beginning. J Neurotrauma 2013 (Nov 15);30(22):1852-61.
  3. Edlow BL, Giacino JT (co-first author), Hirschberg RE, Gerrard J, Kinney HC, Wu O, Hochberg LR. Unexpected Recovery of Function after Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: The Limits of Early Neuroimaging-Based Outcome Prediction. Neurocritical Care 2013 Dec;19(3):364-375.
  4. Giacino JT, Whyte J, Bagiella E, Kalmar K, Childs N, Khademi A, Eifert B, Long D, Katz DI, Cho S, Yablon SA, Luther M, Hammond FM, Nordenbo A, Novak P, Mercer W, Maurer-Karattup P, Sherer M. Placebo-controlled trial of amantadine for severe traumatic brain injury. N Eng J Med 2012;366:819-26.
  5. Nakase-Richardson R, Whyte J, Giacino JT, et al. Longitudinal outcome of patients with disordered consciousness in the NIDRR TBI Model Systems Programs. J Neurotrauma 2012;29:59-65.
  6. Rodriguez-Moreno D, Schiff ND, Giacino JT, Kalmar K, Hirsch J. A network approach to assess cognition in disorders of consciousness. Neurology 2010;75;1871.
  7. Schnakers C, Vanhaudenhuyse A, Giacino J, Ventura M, Boly M, Majerus S, Moonen G, Laureys S. Diagnostic accuracy of the vegetative and minimally conscious state: Clinical consensus versus standardized neurobehavioral assessment. BMC Neurol 2009;9:35
  8. Schiff ND, Giacino JT (co-lead author), Kalmar K, Victor JD, Baker K, Gerber M, Fritz B, Eisenberg B, O’Connor JO, Kobylarz EJ, Farris S, Machado A, McCagg C, Plum F, Fins JJ, Rezai A. Behavioral improvements with thalamic stimulation after severe traumatic brain injury. Nature 2007;448(Aug 2):600-604.
  9. Voss HU, Ulug AM, Dyke JP, Watts R, Kobylarz EJ, McCandliss B, Heier LA, Beattie BJ, Hamacher KA, Vallabhajosula S, Goldsmith SJ, Ballon D, Giacino JT, Schiff ND. Possible axonal re-growth in late recovery from the minimally conscious state. J of Clinical Investigation 2006;116:205-211.
  10. Schiff ND, Rodriguez-Moreno D, Kamal A, Kim KHS, Giacino J, Plum F, Hirsch J. Functional MRI reveals large scale network activation in minimally conscious patients. Neurology, 2005;64:514-523.
  11. Giacino JT, Kalmar K, Whyte J.The JFK coma recovery scale- revised: Measurement characteristics and diagnostic utility. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2004;85:2020-9.
  12. Giacino JT, Ashwal S, Childs N, Cranford R, Jennett B, Katz DI, Kelly JP, Rosenberg JH, Whyte J, Zafonte RD, Zasler ND. The minimally conscious state: Definition and diagnostic criteria. Neurology, 2002;58:349-353.
  13. Schiff N, Ribary U, Rodriguez-Moreno D, Beattie B, Kronberg E, Blasberg R, Giacino J, McCagg C, Fins J, Llinas R, Plum F. Residual cerebral activity and behavioral fragments can remain in the persistently vegetative brain. Brain 2002;125:1210-34.
  14. Giacino JT, Kalmar KA. The vegetative and minimally conscious states: A comparison of clinical features and functional outcome during the first year post-injury. J Head Trauma Rehabil 1997;12:36-51.
  15. Illes J, Lau P, Giacino J. Neuroimaging, impaired states of consciousness and public outreach. Nat Clin Pract Neurol 2008;4:542-3.