Human Exceptionalism

Electric Stimulation Treats Severe Brain Damage

It appears there may be a way to improve the condition of patients in a persistent unconscious and minimally conscious states. From the New Scientist story:

People who have been in a minimally conscious state for weeks or years have been temporarily roused using mild electrical stimulation. Soon after it was applied to their brains, 15 people with severe brain damage showed signs of consciousness, including moving their hands or following instructions using their eyes. Two people were even able to answer questions for 2 hours before drifting back into their previous uncommunicative state.

“I don’t want to give people false hope – these people weren’t getting up and walking around – but it shows there is potential for the brain to recover functionality, even several years after damage,” says Steven Laureys at the University of Liège in Belgium, who led the research.

This could mean better diagnosis:

The worst scenario, he says, is that the person has some aspects of awareness but they have been misdiagnosed as persistently vegetative. Brain stimulation could now be added to the tests used to make that diagnosis. It’s an important distinction – someone in a vegetative state is thought to be unable to feel pain.

Someone with minimal consciousness can feel pain and possibly emotions, too. “The key thing is getting the diagnosis right, that’s the game-changer,” says Fins.

Gee, treating these disabled people as people rather than as “dead” or human “nonpersons” for organ harvesting. What a concept.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

Most Popular

Books

And Here We Go . . .

It’s official! I’m done haranguing people about preordering my book. That’s because today it goes on sale. I set up my own website in part to spare NRO readers from any hint of self-promotion of my “epic and debate shifting” (David Brooks, NYT), “. . . ambitious, engrossing, and provocative . . . ... Read More
Economy & Business

Trade Misunderstandings

I was distracted by other policy topics last week but not enough not to notice Peter Navarro’s article in the Wall Street Journal, headlined “China’s Faux Comparative Advantage.” Considering Navarro’s position in the White House, it is unfortunate that it demonstrates some serious misunderstandings ... Read More
U.S.

Joy Reid Denies Writing Homophobic Blog Posts

MSNBC personality Joy Reid's former blog, The Reid Report, published a series of anti-gay posts, which she claims were added to the site after it was shut down, by a hacker intent on destroying her reputation and nascent cable-news career. Reid, who discontinued the blog roughly a decade ago, apologized in ... Read More
Culture

Monday Links

A Supercut of Epic Movie Explosions. Can You Solve These 10 Medieval Riddles? The cost to make a Margherita pizza: $1.77. How much restaurants charge on average for a pizza: $12. The actual costs of restaurant foods. Vintage animation lessons -- how to make things cute. London's "Great ... Read More