Thursday, August 2, 2007

Presto-whammo, excite-thalamo!

I would be remiss to skip a big story that has hit nearly every major media outlet. A 38-year old man in a minimally conscious state was aroused from his 'slumber' via stimulation of the "central thalamus". I'll leave you to read any one of the below reports, but I want to highlight the issues brought up by Wired. In short, they question the rise of what might be called the cognitive life support system, and when it would be ethical to "pull the plug".

Nature news
Nature news and views

N. D. Schiff, J. T. Giacino, K. Kalmar, J. D. Victor, K. Baker, M. Gerber, B. Fritz, B. Eisenberg, J. O’Connor, E. J. Kobylarz, S. Farris, A. Machado, C. McCagg, F. Plum1, J. J. Fins & A. R. Rezai.
Behavioural improvements with thalamic stimulation after severe traumatic brain injury.
Nature 448, 600-603 (2 August 2007)


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