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Researchers use fMRI to communicate with severely brain-injured patient

In case you missed it, BBC One's Panorama program recently aired a special chronicling the lives of vegetative and minimally conscious patients in Britain and Canada over the course of a year. The program featured ongoing research at the University of Western Ontario's Brain and Mind Institute where researchers are experimenting with fMRI technology to communicate with severely brain-injured patients.

The above video shows how brain scans allowed a Canadian man, who has been in a vegetative state for more than a decade, to answer yes or no questions and effectively tell researchers that he was not experiencing any pain. Researchers say they hope the method will prove useful in improving the care and quality of life for this patient group.

Previously: Brain imaging, and the “image management” cells that make it possible

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