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Waking the Unconscious

The state of consciousness continue to puzzles neuroscientists worldwide. However, a team of neurologists and neurosurgeons have succeeded in increasing conscious control in an individual who had been in a minimally conscious state (MCS) for over six years.

A 38 year old male had suffered severe brain damage, slipped into in a deep coma, and a year after receded into a minimally conscious state. The patient was non verbal, was fed and kept alive through tubes in a long term care facility. Six years later, despite the large amount of damage to the cortex, imaging results showed that some parts of the brain were still functioning. This led a team of neurosurgeons to believe that they would be able to improve the patient's state through manual stimulation of those undamaged parts of his brain. Upon examination at the time of enrollment, the patient was able to move his eyes sideways (but not up and down), and the rest of his body was out of conscious control.

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