Monday, September 11, 2006

For first time, doctors communicate with patient in persistent vegetative state (Guardian)

Check out this fascinating report by Ian Sample, science reporter for the Guardian. For the first time, doctors have been able to detect possible awareness in a patient in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) -- a state where someone is unconscious with sleeping and waking cycles but show no other signs of brain activity -- until now. It is considered to be one step up from being in a complete coma. A new test has provided the opportunity to test out whether a woman in a PVS is aware of her surroundings. If this test shows what it claims to (and there is still much to be done in proving this) it has enormous implications for end of life decisions. You can check out the full article here.

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