More than 12 years after a car accident left him in a vegetative state, a Canadian man has begun communicating with doctors who are monitoring his brain activity through Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scans.
The BBC reports that 39-year-old Scott Routley has been able to communicate to doctors that he is not in any pain, marking the first time an uncommunicative, severely brain-damaged patient has been able to give direct answers regarding his care and treatment.
"Scott has been able to show he has a conscious, thinking mind," British neuroscientist Adrian Owen told the BBC. "We have scanned him several times, and his pattern of brain activity shows he is clearly choosing to answer our questions. We believe he knows who and where he is."
Owen leads a team at the Brain and Mind Institute at the University of Western Ontario, which used fMRI scans to measure responses from Routley.
Traditional tests have continued to indicate that Routley is in a vegetative state, with no relevant brain activity. Owen and other doctors say this means medical textbooks will literally need to be re-written when it comes to evaluating patients suffering from severe brain injuries.
Routley’s previous neurologist said that for a decade all test results taken from scans of Routley’s brain indicated he was not experiencing any mental activity.
"I was impressed and amazed that he was able to show these cognitive responses," said University Hospital’s Bryan Young. "He had the clinical picture of a typical vegetative patient and showed no spontaneous movements that looked meaningful."
Owen says the results could lead to improved patient care for those living with severe brain injuries, making a major improvement in the daily life of patients, including routine tasks such as when they prefer to be fed or bathed.
And since fMRI scans do not use radiation and are considered easy to use by trained technicians, it’s likely doctors could use them to communicate with patients on a regular basis.
"Imagine if you were completely conscious but couldn’t move or speak? Neuroscientist Adrian Owen has been using brain-imaging techniques to detect consciousness in patients who are presumed to be vegetative, sometimes for many years. By giving simple commands and then measuring brain activity, Owen has learned some patients are completely aware despite being entirely unable to communicate or move their limbs."
Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan 2016-04-28 20:10
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North.
The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night.
A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked.
The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons 2016-04-28 20:48
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough.
Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield.
Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims 2016-04-27 2:23 St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants
Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July.
The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ 2016-04-27 2:09
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown.
The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent.
He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop 2016-04-25 23:10
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are.
London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race.
Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event.