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Are vegetative patients able to think?

Feb 4, 2010

In a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers report that a form of brain scanning could be used to determine the consciousness of patients who appear to be in a persistent vegetative state. Using functional magnetic resonance, five patients showed brain activity that indicated awareness and intent, with one patient able to communicate 'yes' and 'no' answers. The findings, all in subjects with traumatic brain injuries, could lead to a test to determine a patient's consciousness, as well as inform a family's decision to continue or end life support.

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