'Thought reading' brings hope for vegetative state patients
2010 02 09

From: YahooNews.ca


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



RedIce Radio:

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



Related Articles
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

The Aeon of Horus is Ending and the Elites are Nervous as their Icons are Dying
2014 04 18
I predict there is going to be a huge resurgence of interest in European indigenous spiritual traditions from Norse to Celtic/Gaelic to Slavic and so on. Millions of Europeans are going to realise that we are the victims of Christianity and New Age garbage. Their bastardised Kabbalah, the psychic force used by Crowley and the elites to cement his Aeon ...
Easter - Christian or Pagan?
2014 04 18
From: truthbeknown.com Contrary to popular belief, Easter does not represent the "historical" crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In reality, the gospel tale reflects the annual "crossification" of the sun through the vernal equinox (Spring), at which time the sun is "resurrected," as the day begins to become longer than the night. Rather than being a "Christian" holiday, Easter celebrations date back ...
Man-Made Blood Might Be Used in Transfusions by 2016
2014 04 18
Researchers in the U.K. have created the first man-made red blood cells of high enough quality to be introduced into the human body The premise of the HBO show and book series True Blood revolves around a technological breakthrough: scientists figure out how to synthesize artificial human blood, which, as an ample new source of non-human food, allows vampires to "come ...
The Trials of the Cherokee Were Reflected In Their Skulls
2014 04 18
Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee have found that environmental stressors – from the Trail of Tears to the Civil War – led to significant changes in the shape of skulls in the eastern and western bands of the Cherokee people. The findings highlight the role of environmental factors in shaping our physical characteristics. ...
Our Fears May Be Shaped by Ancestral Trauma
2014 04 18
Last December, an unsettling Nature Neuroscience study found that mice who were taught to associate the smell of cherry blossoms with pain produced offspring who feared the smell of cherry blossoms, even if they had never been exposed to it before. We knew that the process was epigenetic—that it was not hard-wired in the permanent genetic structure of the mouse—but ...
More News »