Man thought to be in vegetative state 'able to communicate'

A man believed to be in a vegetative state has been able to tell doctors he is not in pain, a Canadian research team has claimed.  Scott Routley, of Ontario, was involved in a road traffic accident 12 years ago and sustained a severe brain injury. But when researchers asked Mr Routley to imagine himself playing tennis as a way of answering questions, this brain activity was detected using an MRI scanner. It is the first time a patient in a a vegetative state has been able to communicate an aspect of their care needs. 
A digital image of the brain
Please note: image is for illustrative purposes only
Professor Adrian Owen led the research at the Brain and Mind Institute of Western Ontario and told the BBC's Panorama, who followed the research, that Mr Routley was clearly not in a vegetative state. “Scott has been able to show he has a conscious, thinking mind. "We have scanned him several times and his pattern of brain activity shows he is clearly choosing to answer our questions. We believe he knows who and where he is.” In The Mind Reader: Unlocking My Voice, is to be shown on BBC one at 10.35pm. Or click here for BBC iPlayer.
Share page
Print page
Follow us