Martin Pistorius – Ghost Boy

It is difficult enough to imagine the physical limitations of Locked-in syndrome – being unable to shake off a fly on your skin, or readjust clothing that is uncomfortable – let alone comprehending the emotional consequences of being like that for long periods. But Martin Pistorius had the scarcely believable experience of regaining consciousness after coma, but not regaining speech or movement so that none of his carers appreciated his improvement. He was locked-in, but without his parents or carers knowing that he had recovered his ability to observe and understand what was happening around him, and with no ability … Read more...

Adrian Owen – How science found a way to help coma patients communicate

This article (or podcast) refers to one particular patient encountered by Adrian Owen in his investigations with people in coma. It is a short and very moving account of how clinicians used fMRI to enable a 38 year-old man in deep coma to communicate with the people caring for him. By imagining how to play tennis at particular moments Scott Routley was able to signal (either yes or no according to how the question was framed) by firing up his prefrontal cortex on the fMRI image, even though to neutral observers he seemed to be still deep in his … Read more...

Cathy Rentzenbrink – The Last Act of Love

A fate worse than death. And life was never the same again – although there was a strong sense of another alternative life somewhere else. Cathy Renzenbrink tells us that she sometimes imagines the parallel universe where her brother’s accident never happened and he grew up to be a brain surgeon and fathered her nieces and nephews. This riveting book tells how she and her parents (and many others) had to struggle through an impossible situation. Her brother was knocked over by a car, and although the subsequent emergency surgery prevented his death, it (and consequent epileptic fits) left him … Read more...