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16th June 2012

Link reblogged from It's Okay To Be Smart with 104 notes

Adrian Owen: The mind reader →

jtotheizzoe:

What is the definition of “consciousness”?

Adrian Owen still gets animated when he talks about patient 23. The patient was only 24 years old when his life was devastated by a car accident. Alive but unresponsive, he had been languishing in what neurologists refer to as a vegetative state for five years, when Owen, a neuro-scientist then at the University of Cambridge, UK, and his colleagues at the University of Liège in Belgium, put him into a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine and started asking him questions.

Incredibly, he provided answers.

A challenging look at the definition of consciousness in those confined to a vegetative state. fMRI studies, for all their shortcomings, have recently challenged long-held notions about brain activity in otherwise unresponsive patients, but what does that mean about their “consciousness”? At what threshold does brain activity become “life”?

There’s lots of controversy about how valid Owen’s studies are, but the story of Patient 23 will certainly make you think twice. A wonderful read.

Tagged: oh shitsciencemindthoughtsbrain

  1. math-erin reblogged this from jtotheizzoe and added:
    Interesting. Not sure what to think here.
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  5. amandabees reblogged this from jtotheizzoe and added:
    Also, Finding Emilie — she speaks really eloquently about feeling locked in a wall and waiting for someone to come pull...
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