My Profile Photo

Benjamin Rohaut

Neuro Intensivist & Scientist exploring Consciousness and Brain Dysfunction in the ICU

My page

Hi, welcome to my page! I am a French Neurologist and intensivist working at Columbia University in the Neuro-ICU research team led by Prof Jan Claassen.
My research aims at exploring Brain Dysfunction in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and developing tools to improve assessment & treatment of severely brain-injured patients suffering from Disorders of Consciousness.

Advances in modern intensive care medicine have led to an increase in the number of patients who survive critical illness. For these patients, the impact of brain injuries on consciousness, cognitive disability and more generally on quality of life can be highly significant.

As we better understand consciousness and develop new cutting edge brain stimulation techniques, the awakening of some unconscious patients is becoming a reality. However, to make well-grounded medical decisions, we need increasingly accurate diagnosis and prognostic tools.

Since 2008, I have been working with Prof Lionel Naccache at La Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, exploring several approaches to assess cognitive abilities in unresponsive patients such as electrophysiological markers related to deviant stimuli detection (1, 2, 3); correlate of semantic processing (4) and, more recently, functional connectivity using a new marker called wSMI (for weighted Symbolic Mutual Information, 5) integrated in a multidimentional approach using machine learning (6, 7, post).

Through the “GENeR” (Groupe d’Exploration Neurologique en Réanimation) and Prof Tarek Sharshar and Jean Mantz, I have also studied Brain Dysfunction in ICU patients, its pathophysiology, its relation with sedation, delirium, mortality and long-term outcome (8, 9, 10; post).

During my Ph.D. at the Sorbonne University & the Brain & Spine Institute – Paris, I have explored with Lionel Naccache the Relations between Language & Consciousness both in brain injured patients and healthy volunteers (4, thesis). Trying to replicate a set of classical 30-year-old results, we could finally reframe a well- established model of semantic unconscious processing (11, post).

I now focus my research on ICU brain-injured patients, trying to improve assessment & treatment of patients suffering from consciousness disorders in the ICU.


  • European Academy of Neurology (EAN; “Neurocritical Care” and “Coma and chronic disorders of consciousness” scientific panels)
  • Neurocritial Care Society (NCS; Research Operations Sub-Committee and Ethical Committee)
  • French Intensive Care Society (FICS/SRLF)
  • French Neurological Society (SFN)
  • Chiasma


  1. Bekinschtein TA, Dehaene S, Rohaut B, Tadel F, Cohen L, Naccache L. Neural signature of the conscious processing of auditory regularities. PNAS. 2009 Feb 3;106(5):1672–7.

  2. Faugeras F, Rohaut B, Weiss N, Bekinschtein TA, Galanaud D, Puybasset L, et al. Probing consciousness with event-related potentials in the vegetative state. Neurology. 2011 Jul 19;77(3):264–8.

  3. Faugeras F, Rohaut B, Weiss N, Bekinschtein T, Galanaud D, Puybasset L, et al. Event related potentials elicited by violations of auditory regularities in patients with impaired consciousness. Neuropsychologia. 2012 Feb;50(3):403–18.

  4. Rohaut B, Faugeras F, Chausson N, King J-R, Karoui IE, Cohen L, et al. Probing ERP correlates of verbal semantic processing in patients with impaired consciousness. Neuropsychologia. 2015 Jan;66:279–92. (post about this publication here)

  5. King J-R, Sitt JD, Faugeras F, Rohaut B, El Karoui I, Cohen L, et al. Information sharing in the brain indexes consciousness in noncommunicative patients. Curr Biol. 2013 Oct 7;23(19):1914–9.

  6. Sitt JD, King J-R, El Karoui I, Rohaut B, Faugeras F, Gramfort A, et al. Large scale screening of neural signatures of consciousness in patients in a vegetative or minimally conscious state. Brain. 2014 Aug;137(Pt 8):2258–70.

  7. Rohaut B, Raimondo F, Galanaud D, Valente M, Sitt J.D, Naccache L. Probing consciousness in a sensory-disconnected paralyzed patient. Brain Injury. 2017 Jun 28:1-6. doi: 10.1080/02699052.2017.1327673. (post about this publication here)

  8. Rohaut B, Porcher R, Hissem T, Heming N, Chillet P, Djedaini K, et al. Brainstem response patterns in deeply-sedated critically-ill patients predict 28-day mortality. PLOS ONE. 2017 Apr 25;12(4): e0176012. (post about this publication here)

  9. Sharshar T, Porcher R, Siami S, Rohaut B, Bailly-Salin J, Hopkinson NS, et al. Brainstem responses can predict death and delirium in sedated patients in intensive care unit. Crit Care Med. 2011 Aug;39(8):1960–7. (reprint available here)

  10. Azabou E, Rohaut B, Heming N, et al. Early impairment of intracranial conduction time predicts mortality in deeply sedated critically ill patients: a prospective observational pilot study. Ann Intensive Care. 2017;7(1):63.

  11. Rohaut B, Alario F-X, Meadow J, Cohen L, Naccache L. Unconscious semantic processing of polysemous words is not automatic. Neurosci Conscious. 2016 Jan 1;2016(1):niw010. (post about this publication here)

List of main publications