'Thought reading' brings hope for vegetative state patients
Doctors have managed to read the thoughts of a car crash victim diagnosed to be in a vegetative condition, using brain scanning techniques that could mark a breakthrough for thousands of patients.
A 22-year-old man who had been considered to be in a vegetative state since an automobile accident five years ago managed to answer "yes" and "no" to a team of doctors using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to scan his brain.
Patients in a vegetative state are awake, not in a coma, but have no awareness due to severe brain damage.
The research team from Britain and Belgium, whose findings were first published in the online version of the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, believe the technique could help doctors avoid making false diagnoses.
By helping doctors accurately ascertain whether a patient is mentally responsive, the technique "will change patient care, improve our diagnostics and avoid useless treatment," Belgian neuropsychologist Audrey Vanhaudenhuyse told AFP.
Graphic on a research breakthrough that may give a voice to people presumed to be in a vegetative state. A man who had been presumed to be in a vegetative state for five years, can communicate yes and no via his thought patterns, according to a study by British and Belgian researchers. Image: AFP
The car crash victim had not responded to any external stimuli, leading others to conclude he was in a vegetative state. When the British-Belgian team examined him, they found small signs of consciousness.
"But we couldn't communicate with him," Vanhaudenhuyse said.
The team had already examined a number of healthy people using fMRI, viewing which parts of their brains reacted when asked to respond to simple "yes" or "no" questions by imagining playing tennis or walking around a room.
They then placed the patient into an MRI. "We asked him the same things, to imagine he was playing tennis to respond to questions. And he succeeded," said Vanhaudenhuyse.
"That confirms he is not in a vegetative state."
The researchers' success has not revolutionised the life of the young man, although he has now returned home and receives better adapted care, including therapy that might help improve his capacity to communicate.
But they are aware of the implications of better diagnostic techniques -- both to stop administering useless treatment and giving false hopes to family members.
"We should now sit down around the table with the medical community, all the disciplines together, and legal experts, and settle the ethical implications of this research," said Professor Steven Laureys, who led the study in Belgium.
Vanhaudenhuyse noted that "we are not there to give definitive answers on when a patient should be euthanised or not... Our work allows avoiding errors, and taking well-founded decisions."
She was also concerned the technique would give false hopes to families.
"What we don't want to say is that all patients diagnosed as being in vegetative states can communicate," she said.
Of 54 patients with problems of consciousness they tested, only five displayed brain activity when asked questions, and only the 22-year-old car crash victim was able to "communicate."
But "we've known for a long time that with unconscious patients that the absence of proof is not proof of absence," said Vanhaudenhuyse.
Article from: YahooNews.ca
Video from: YouTube.com
Aaron Franz - TransAlchemy, Save the Humans!
Aaron Franz - The Age of Transitions
Brent Jessop - Knowledge Driven Revolution: The Big Picture
Brent Jessop - Club of Rome, Climate, UNESCO & Eugenics
Kevin Warwick - "I, Cyborg": Implants, RFID, Microchips & Cybernetics
Kevin Warwick - Artificial Intelligence & The Rise of the Machines in 2020
Michael Tsarion - The Post Human World
Honda Develops Brain-Machine Interface Technology (Video)
Homeland Security Embarks on Big Brother Programs to Read Our Minds and Emotions
"me.exe": Mind Hacking, the Next Tech Frontier
Psychic computer that can read people's minds developed
Humans 2.0: Replacing the Mind and Body
Japan Unveils Mind Control Robot (Video)
Mind-Reading Device Sends Twitter Messages
Mind Control, Electronic Harassment and Voice to Skull Technology
Scientists may soon be able to erase fear and trauma from your mind
A computer that can 'read' your mind
Man controlled robotic hand with thoughts
The 'telepathy' chip, turn on the TV using the power of thought
Locked-In Syndrome - Wikipedia
Vegetative state patients can respond to questions
Latest News from our Front Page
Galaxy Poll: 86 per cent of Australians want childhood vaccination to be compulsory?
Australians want Prime Minister Tony Abbott to make childhood vaccination compulsory and close loopholes that allow vaccine refusers to put all children at risk.
An exclusive national Galaxy poll commissioned by The Sunday Telegraph has revealed overwhelming support to ensure every child is vaccinated.
The highest support for compulsory jabs is in South Australia, where 90 per cent support the call.
The poll ...
Eye in the sky: Local police now using drones to spy on citizens
The Harris County Precinct 1 Constable's Office is doing something that no other agency in Harris County is believed to have done yet: Use drones to help fight crime.
It's an eye in the sky for law enforcement, without giving up the element of surprise.
"It could absolutely save lives," says Constable Alan Rosen.
Rosen says the agency's two new $1,200 drones, which ...
New Zealander of the Year: refuse vaccines, lose money
Following in the footsteps of Australia, 2014 New Zealander of the Year, Dr. Lance O’Sullivan, wants to punish people who don’t get vaccinated.
The New Zealand Herald (4/15) reports:
“A leading New Zealand doctor has called on the Government to follow Australia’s example to cut child welfare payments to families who do not vaccinate their children, saying the policy would help protect ...
Iris Scanner Identifies a Person 40 Feet Away
Police traffic stops are in the news again, tragically, sparking a new round of discussion on whether and how to outfit police with cameras and other technology.
For several years now, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab Biometrics Center have been testing an iris recognition system that can be used to identify subjects at a range of up to 40 feet.
Yes, You Can Catch Insanity
One day in March 2010, Isak McCune started clearing his throat with a forceful, violent sound. The New Hampshire toddler was 3, with a Beatles mop of blonde hair and a cuddly, loving personality. His parents had no idea where the guttural tic came from. They figured it was springtime allergies.
Soon after, Isak began to scream as if in pain ...
|More News » |