Communicating with the unconscious

I have to pass along this fascinating article about communication with a clinically vegetative patient using only fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging). In this case, a patient unable to communicate or move in any way was apparently able to answer yes or no questions by modulating his brain activity. If he can answer yes or no questions, with some patience full communication is possible. For example, he could select letters on a screen as they come by. So how many "vegetative," "unconscious" people have active minds but are "locked in" to useless bodies? The downside of this is that the MRI machine he's using to communicate is unimaginably expensive to build and hideously expensive to use. So he'd better answer those questions fast before he's "locked in" again.

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