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Can an unconscious person be aware of his surroundings? Part 3 (Teacher: Michael)

This study and two other reports suggest that we should cautious in making assumptions about whether individuals with brain injury have any remaining "conscious" awareness.

Persons who have multiple strokes or severe head injury may end up lying in bed totally unable to communicate, even though their eyes may open at times. These patients have to by a tube and cannot anything for themselves. They are to in a "persistent vegetative state and there is increasing pressure on doctors to discontinue feeding these patients and them to die, on the grounds that they have no "conscious" brain activity.

A recent report from Addenbrooke's Hospital in England evidence that one such patient who completely unable to communicate or anything for herself able to recognise photos of familiar faces. When photos to her, activation of parts of the brain detected on a brain functional magnetic resonance scan. The patient started to recover a couple of months later.

Seventeen of 40 patients admitted to the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability in London with a diagnosis of persistent vegetative state, up to four years previously, misdiagnosed. The authors in an article in the British Medical Journal, pointed out that it requires a skilled neurological team to determine whether patients who have severe brain injury are aware of their surroundings.

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