While watching Alfred Hitchcock, a man who has been in a vegetative state for 16 years exhibited similar brain patterns to healthy viewers, including parts of the brain involved in higher cognition and the processing of sensory information. The study "provides the best evidence to date that fMRI can be used to… » 9/16/14 6:00pm 9/16/14 6:00pm

Shocks to the brain temporarily rouse people from vegetative states

After undergoing transcranial direct current stimulation, patients in a minimally conscious state exhibited signs of increased awareness and even the ability to communicate. The effect didn't last long — but the insights gleaned could lead to more effective interventions. » 2/27/14 2:20pm 2/27/14 2:20pm

Flatlining comatose patients may be more 'alive' than we realized

When working with patients in a deep coma, doctors interpret a flat EEG reading as a sign that the person is brain-dead and with little chance of waking up. But a new Canadian study raises the possibility of ongoing brain activity beneath that flat line. » 9/20/13 1:20pm 9/20/13 1:20pm

The neuroscience of comas, or what it means to be trapped inside your…

It's a fate that's only comparable to death. The coma, typically the result of a massive head injury or drug overdose, is a medical condition that continues to frustrate physicians, while also causing great anguish for friends and family members. But neuroscientists are starting to understand the condition a bit… » 12/07/12 11:48am 12/07/12 11:48am

Man in coma uses his thoughts to tell doctors, 'I'm not in pain'

Back in 2010, neuroscientists confirmed that it was possible to communicate with some patients locked in a vegetative state by using an fMRI scanner. Though limited, the breakthrough suggested that more meaningful dialogue with patients in a coma could someday be possible. And now, two years later, it has finally… » 11/13/12 6:30am 11/13/12 6:30am

New study suggests "vegetative" people may be conscious and aware

Traditionally, doctors diagnose severely injured people as "vegetative" when their eyes can't track movement and they can't wiggle any of their fingers. But a new medical study suggests that some of these patients may actually be fully conscious and aware — but trapped in unresponsive bodies. Researchers used EEG… » 11/09/11 4:50pm 11/09/11 4:50pm

Man Thought to Be in a 23-Year Coma Was Conscious the Whole Time

It's a nightmarish medical scenario: a man spent 23 years paralyzed but conscious while his doctors believed he was in a vegetative state. And his situation might be more common than we'd like to think. » 11/24/09 10:30am 11/24/09 10:30am