Here is some people’s nightmare, straight out of a horror movie: You are fully aware and conscious, but you can’t communicate or move.
That was the reaction of some people who posted comments to a story that CBC News wrote about a study involving a man in a so-called “vegetative state.” The bottom line was that the patient was able to answer simple questions when his brain activity was tracked by an MRI.
Here’s the deal. The subject in the study was Scott Routley, 39, of Canada. He has been in a vegetative state ever since he sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car accident a dozen years ago. He exhibited no signs that he was aware of his surroundings, according to CBC News.
But researchers at the Centre for Brain and Mind at Western University in London, Ontario, found that Routley was aware. Doctors asked him if he was in pain, and the answer was no, according to the brain activity scanned by the MRI, CBC News reported.
MRIs highlight the movement of oxygen-loaded blood within the brain, thereby determining what areas of it are active, according to CBC News.
Imagine sitting in a bed or chair, unable to move or talk, and you are fully aware of what is happening around you. That’s an unfortunate fate.