Saturday, August 4, 2007

Brought Back To Consciousness

Six years ago a man was assaulted and brain-injured to the point of being put into a minimally-conscious state, unable to eat, and only able to intermittently communicate using slight movements of his eyes or thumbs. Recently, scientists put electrodes in his brain and, through the miracle of mild electrocution, have given him a partial recovery:


Scientific abstract from the journal Nature:

The 38-year old patient, whose name was not given, now has the ability to speak a few breathy words at a time when asked for a reply, and has recited the first half of the Pledge of Allegiance. He can chew now, so they took out his feeding tube and can feed him the normal way. And he can make more complex movements with his hands and arms, though his tendons and muscles have atrophied from lack of use over the years. To do this, the scientists inserted electrodes and gave electrical stimulation in short sessions. Now he is stimulated constantly.

I would love to know what his first words were, but I could hazard a guess. Here's a top-ten list of things I might want to say if I were in his shoes:

1. "What the hell are you doing to my f*ckin' head?"

2. "Scratch my back, quick! Ahhh!! That's been itching for years!

3. "Get me a bacon cheeseburger, and make it snappy! I don't know how long this will last!"

4. "I've been staring at a blank ceiling for six years. Hang some posters of pin-up models, already."

5. "We're at war in Iraq? I thought the idea was to fight Osama bin Laden?"

6. "So how does Harry Potter end?"

7. "Damn, I'm horny! Let's electrically stimulating something else.…"

8. "Would it kill you to put a TV in here? I've been SOOOO bored!"

9. "How about lowering the voltage a little? My fillings are sparking."

10. "George W. Bush is still president?? Quick, put me back under!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you are not getting nasty-grams for this one!