Scientists "Wake Up" Patient from Coma-Like State by Zapping His Brain

Researchers managed to rouse a man who has been stuck in a coma-like state for 6 years by zapping his brain, much like a pacemaker works for the heart!

Using computer-generated maps and image-guided navigation equipment, researchers implanted tiny electrodes in the man's thalamus, a brain area involved in attention, movement and other control functions. The electrodes were attached by wires to programmable pacemaker batteries implanted in the man's chest.

The device, called a deep brain stimulator, delivers electrical pulses to the brain and is approved to treat such neurological disorders as Parkinson's disease.

And the result is phenomenal:

Assisted by tiny electrodes implanted in his brain, a man who had been in a coma-like state for six years regained the ability to drink from a cup, comb his hair and speak in short sentences, researchers said Wednesday.

Within hours of receiving what researchers described as a pacemaker for the brain, the man opened his eyes and tracked the movement of people in his hospital room.

More than a year later, the man's progress has continued, and recently he recited the first 16 words of the Pledge of Allegiance, researchers said.


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