Inside the vegetative mind

The invention of the artificial respirator in Denmark in the 1950s created more than just a new technology. It created a new class of being — the vegetative state. More than half a century later, scientists are still trying to understand what happens inside the minds of vegetative patients.

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  1. Agreed, although that's the currently agreed-upon medical terminology. Such terms have a way of becoming more offensive over time -- after all, "idiot" and "imbecile" were once specific medical diagnoses. At least since the Normalization "movement" started in the US by Wolf Wolfensberger in the early 1970's, there's been a focus in human services to name the condition ("vegetative state") rather than the person ("vegetable") as a way of respecting the individual. That was the unstated focus of my comment -- I'm more patient with the medical establishment's updating of terminology as long as they're making the kind of progress described in the article to actually help people suffering in that state.

  2. Neurologist Steve Laureys? He lost a lot of credibility back in 2009 when he pronounced locked-in consciousness in the case of Rom Houben, using "facilitated communication".

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