PART IX: To inside our head

Three diagrams of human heads, generated from data, show areas of the brain lit up with different colours. A series of lines criss-cross above each head – connecting one area to another.

PART IX: To inside our head

Using mindful medicine to communicate with patients in a vegetative state. Western University.
April 24, 2017

One in five people with severe brain injuries who are in a vegetative state have some level of consciousness. The two heads on the left — generated from electroencephalogram (EEG) data that measures electrical activity in the brain — show brain networks in two people diagnosed as vegetative. The difference is that the one in the middle can imagine playing tennis when asked to do so. (On the far right, a healthy adult’s brain network while at rest is shown.) Researchers at Western University have been able to elicit “yes” or “no” answers from such patients by asking them to imagine playing tennis. In this way, they hope to determine better prognoses for coma patients in order to provide more appropriate care.

Image: Srivas Chennu/Universities of Kent and Cambridge

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A commemorative book to mark 20 years of the Canada Foundation for Innovation