patients

Patients in vegetative state can still recognize photos of loved ones

Thursday, January 02, 2014 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: vegetative state, photographs, recognition

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
The five biggest lies about Ebola being pushed by government and mass media
White House admits staging fake vaccination operation to gather DNA from the public
Why does the CDC own a patent on Ebola 'invention?'
Ultraviolet light robot kills Ebola in two minutes; why doesn't every hospital have one of these?
EXCLUSIVE: Natural News tests flu vaccine for heavy metals, finds 25,000 times higher mercury level than EPA limit for water
Irrefutable proof we are all being sprayed with poison: 571 tons of toxic lead 'chemtrailed' into America's skies every year
Truvia sweetener a powerful pesticide; scientists shocked as fruit flies die in less than a week from eating GMO-derived erythritol
Russia taking McDonald's to court, threatens countrywide shutdown
Oregon man serving prison sentence for collecting rainwater on his own property
Senator who attacked Doctor Oz over dietary supplements received over $146,000 in campaign contributions from Big Pharma mega-retailer and Monsanto
Global warming data FAKED by government to fit climate change fictions
Healthy 12-year-old girl dies shortly after receiving HPV vaccine
HOAX confirmed: Michelle Obama 'GMOs for children' campaign a parody of modern agricultural politics
Ebola outbreak may already be uncontrollable; Monsanto invests in Ebola treatment drug company as pandemic spreads
Ben & Jerry's switches to non-GMO, Fair Trade ice cream ingredients
W.H.O. contradicts CDC, admits Ebola can spread via coughing, sneezing and by touching contaminated surfaces
Elliot Rodger, like nearly all young killers, was taking psychiatric drugs (Xanax)
BREAKING: CDC whistleblower confesses to MMR vaccine research fraud in historic public statement
Delicious
(NaturalNews) People who spend their lives in a vegetative state alternate between being awake and asleep, breathe on their own and otherwise engage in normative functions, with notable exceptions, of course.

They do not interact with or respond to things that are happening around them. They don't really exhibit much consciousness or awareness, and it is not possible for them to communicate - all of which leaves family and friends wondering if such patients even know if they are around.

But now, researchers have shown that vegetative patients do indeed exhibit some recognition ability, as reported by Science Daily:

Now, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Dr. Haggai Sharon and Dr. Yotam Pasternak of Tel Aviv University's Functional Brain Center and Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center have shown that the brains of patients in a vegetative state emotionally react to photographs of people they know personally as though they recognize them.

"We showed that patients in a vegetative state can react differently to different stimuli in the environment depending on their emotional value," said Dr. Sharon. "It's not a generic thing; it's personal and autobiographical. We engaged the person, the individual, inside the patient."

The researchers' findings, which have been published in PLOS ONE, have deepened understanding about patients locked in a vegetative state and could offer some hope for better care and the development of unique treatment options.

Science Daily reported that a team of researchers from TAU's School of Psychological Sciences, Department of Neurology and Sagol School of Neuroscience, and the Loewenstein Hospital in Ra'anana also contributed to the research.

For a number of years, scientists have speculated that vegetative patients have no self-awareness or awareness of their surrounding environment.

Recognizing loved ones

However, in recent years, scientists and doctors have used fMRI machines to gauge brain activity in vegetative patients. And, in doing so, research has found that some patients in those states are able to perform complex cognitive tasks on command, like imagining a physical activity (like playing tennis). In one case, a vegetative patient could even answer "yes" or "no" questions. Such cases are rare, though, and they don't really provide much indication as to whether patients are having real emotional experiences.

But the research is ongoing, as Science Daily reports:

To gain insight into "what it feels like to be in a vegetative state," the researchers worked with four patients in a persistent (defined as "month-long") or permanent (persisting for more than three months) vegetative state. They showed them photographs of people they did and did not personally know, then gauged the patients' reactions using fMRI, which measures blood flow in the brain to detect areas of neurological activity in real time. In response to all the photographs, a region specific to facial recognition was activated in the patients' brains, indicating that their brains had correctly identified that they were looking at faces.

In response to the photos of close family members and friends, though, brain regions involved in emotional significance and autobiographical data were also stimulated in the patients' brains. "In other words," the website said, "the patients reacted with activations of brain centers involved in processing emotion, as though they knew the people in the photographs."

'Groundbreaking'

The results of such stimuli and response suggest that some patients in vegetative states can actually register and categorize complex visual information while associating that information to memories - a huge and groundbreaking discovery.

Still, researchers were not sure if the patients were conscious of their emotions or if they were just responding autonomously. As such, researchers next verbally asked patients to imagine the faces of their parents. Astonishingly, one patient - a 60-year-old kindergarten teacher who had been struck by a car while crossing the street - exhibited complex brain activity in the part of the brain where facial recognition and emotional centers are located, a response identical to the brain activity of healthy people.

The scientists said her response is so far the strongest evidence yet that vegetative state patients can actually be "emotionally aware."

A second, 23-year-old patient, also exhibited emotion-center brain activity. What is significant about these two patients, however, is that they both woke up within a couple of months after the tests; neither remembered being in a vegetative state.

"This experiment, a first of its kind, demonstrates that some vegetative patients may not only possess emotional awareness of the environment but also experience emotional awareness driven by internal processes, such as images," said Sharon.

Sources:

http://www.sciencedaily.com

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://science.naturalnews.com

Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.