PVS and awareness

Most interesting article in today's Guardian: For first time, doctors communicate with patient in persistent vegetative state. A study using functional magnetic resonance imaging has shown different parts of the brain lighting up as predicted, depending on whether the researchers were talking about tennis or walking around the home.

Stephen Laureys, co-author of the study said:
This is extremely important. It's the difference between life and death. From cases in the UK and the US, we know that end-of-life decisions are of course extremely important and this will definitely change the way we deal with these patients. When you have signs of consciousness, you cannot decide to stop hydration and nutrition.
Yes, poor Tony Bland and Terri Schiavo.

Colin Blakemore gently pours cold water on the result:
This is very impressive evidence for what continues to function in the brain, but function doesn't mean awareness or even potential for awareness.
Well OK, here is the experiment: you do an fMRI scan on a healthy chimpanzee and see if the premotor cortex lights up when you talk about tennis.

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