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A Hitchcock video helped find a conscious patient who’d been unresponsive for 16 years

16
Sep
2014

When doctors suspect that a patient might be in a vegetative state following a serious brain injury, they run a plethora of tests to confirm the diagnosis. These usually consist of asking patients questions about their environment, and all are aimed at determining their level of consciousness. But contrary to what you might have seen on TV, the sorts of tests rarely include brain scans — ones performed through a machine called an fMRI — because they’re expensive, but more importantly, doctors still don’t quite know what to look for when analyzing someones awareness through brain activity.

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