Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Awareness in patients diagnosed in PVS state

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine reports surprising findings related to patients diagnosed as being in a permanent vegetative state:
Of the 54 patients enrolled in the study, 5 were able to willfully modulate their brain activity. In three of these patients, additional bedside testing revealed some sign of awareness, but in the other two patients, no voluntary behavior could be detected by means of clinical assessment. One patient was able to use our technique to answer yes or no to questions during functional MRI; however, it remained impossible to establish any form of communication at the bedside.
More grist for the euthanasia debate mill.

H/T: BBC News.

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