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Man in Permanent Vegetative State Communicates to Doctor With His Mind

Scott Routley, a Canadian man who was left with severe brain damage that left him vegetative following a car accident ten year ago, has been able to communicate with his physicians using only the power of thought. Doctor have been experimenting with monitoring brain activity on vegetative patients for some time in an attempt to read patients’ thoughts that their bodies are helpless to communicate. With Routley, these experiments have found measured success, as he can answer “yes” and “no” questions simply by thinking of different images. He thinks about walking around his house (which sends blood to one part of his brain) for “yes” and thinks about playing tennis (which sends blood to another part of his brain) for “no.” Between these two thoughts, he’s been able to tell doctors that he’s in no pain. Doctors are hoping that, in the coming weeks, he’ll be able to answer questions about his quality of life, how he’d like his day to be scheduled, and what television shows or radio channels he enjoys …

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