Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Scan sees brain activity in 2nd vegetative patient

Reuters: By Maggie Fox
Scans have shown near-normal brain activity in a second patient who is in a vegetative state, British researchers reported on Monday in a study that may show a way to predict who is likely to recover from the usually hopeless condition. And they said a woman who made headlines last year by playing a game of tennis in her mind has recovered somewhat from her vegetative state -- suggesting the theory may be correct.

More news on the minimally conscious front. This snippet is too sparse to tell much--I'll be looking for a fuller report. There are probably distinctions worth making among severely brain injured patients, which have so far proved elusive to our diagnostic protocols and technologies. Not every such patient is a Terry Schiavo, with overwhelming and irreversible brain destruction. The hard questions, for law and ethics, as well as medicine, are what should follow from that.

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