Medical Definition of Sensorium

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Sensorium: The totality of those parts of the brain that receive, process and interpret sensory stimuli. The sensorium is the supposed seat of sensation, the place to which impressions from the external world are conveyed and perceived.

The sensorium also refers to the entire sensory apparatus of the body.

In medicine, "sensorium" is sometimes used as a generic term for the intellectual and cognitive functions. For example: "A 77-year old woman with cirrhosis was admitted (to the hospital) with a one-week history of altered sensorium." (New Engl J Med 343: 1933, 2000)

The term "sensorium" comes (as does the word "sensation") from the Latin sensus, "the faculty of perceiving." The plural of "sensorium" is rarely used but in case of need you can choose between "sensoriums" and "sensoria."

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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