New research out of Cambridge University has found that people in so-called “vegetative states” (a very dehumanizing term) are cognitively aware.
Researchers were able to show that words were being recognized and the patients could actually follow instructions.
They found that one of the vegetative patients was able to filter out unimportant information and home in on relevant words they were being asked to pay attention to. Using brain imaging (fMRI), the scientists also discovered that this patient could follow simple commands to imagine playing tennis.
byIf this ability can be developed consistently in certain patients who are vegetative, it could open the door to specialised devices in the future and enable them to interact with the outside world.