Science Touches Telepathy
Typically we call someone a vegetable when we assume that all traces of consciousness have left. We call a person “brain-dead” when they come out of a coma and are unresponsive to the world, unable to communicate from the hospital bed. We often assume that no consciousness remains – all that's left is the shell of a body. But is it possible that our perceptions of brain damaged patients have kept us from being able to communicate with them?
A group of British researchers have been using advanced brain-imaging technology to map the consciousness of vegetative patients. Their findings have demonstrated that these patients are, in fact, still experiencing consciousness within their brains. Most exciting, these scientists have been able to perform experiments of successful communication with patients – gaining yes or no responses to questions within the brain.
The ability to communicate thoughts is evolving into something that may not always be dependent upon speaking. This should radically change how we think about the nearly 250,000 “vegetable” patients in America alone. Our notion of patient-rights might have to extend to the treatment of not just the surviving body but the persistent consciousness.
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