Study Finds Coma Victims are Aware of Their Condition

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posted on Nov, 13 2011 @ 10:05 AM
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Confirming long-held suspicions, researchers in Canada have come up with evidence that coma victims are indeed aware of their condition and surroundings. The findings came about after patients in a persistent vegetative state were monitored with an inexpensive EEG rather than the more complicated MRI technique.


That's right. We aren't talking about doctors suspicions, family suspicions, or anecdotal evidence from waking comatose patients. An actual test that demonstrates that at least some coma patients are completely aware of what is going on around them, for months, and some instances, decades of being in a "vegetative state".

I'm not aware of any prior tests of this sort done on comatose people, but if this is the first, it's about time someone showed some caring for these victims that can be easily forgotten. I applaud the researchers in Canada. The comatose have received little respect elsewhere.

What if after some accident, you became comatose? How could you communicate that you're in pain so you could receive medication? How could you tell someone that you are depressed need some counselling or a hug? How can you communicate that you're lonely and need interaction, even if you can't communicate back. How long would it take for you to go insane? It's hard to think about after years of doctors reassuring the family member's that your dad or mom or other relative is practically brain dead, and isn't experiencing a thing.

This pretty much seals the deal to my decision if I become so unfortunate to become comatose, unless there was a leap in technology that could help the comatose communicate with the world, which they are working on.

New Way to Communicate With Brain Damaged People


New research using a portable electrode test suggests nearly 20 percent of those previously determined to be vegetative state may be consciously aware of their surroundings and even able to communicate through easily detectable brain signals.


Then at least I could hold out some hope before giving up. Rights are nice to have, even if you're brain dead.

Again, thank you Canadian Researchers. +1 to Dr. Adrian Owen
edit on 13-11-2011 by satron because: (no reason given)




posted on Nov, 13 2011 @ 10:19 AM
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That is interesting. Although I would like to see extended testing on the matter, It is true that some are aware. Some of them are in a complete dream like state, so mybe what happens outside of the "box" is still heard and felt ( like any other person would experience when deep dreaming and there is noise or slight disruption) and they might react to it within the "box". And that one theory, about people in a coma exiting their bodies via "soul/spirit" I still want to see this tested, but I'm pretty sure that happens in some cases.



posted on Nov, 13 2011 @ 10:26 AM
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I have an anecdotal story about this subject.

Seventeen years ago my father was in a bad car accident. He suffered a lot of brain damage and was comatose.

We had a difficult history as I was growing up. I always figured we would work things out as he got older, but it didn't look like he was going to survive. At the age of 61, he was dying, in a coma, and there was no more time to fix anything.

I decided to tell him all the things we never got a chance to discuss. I apologized for all the trouble I gave him as a teenager. I told him that, although he never told me he loved me, I knew he did, and that I loved him too.

It was then that I noticed a flood of tears rolling down his face. In a coma, my father was crying.

It was one of the most profound moments of my life.

I look at comatose people as fully aware spirits trapped in a body that no longer works. As far as I'm concerned, comatose people can hear and feel, and if your loved one is in a coma, you should talk to them, and tell them everything you would want them to know.

Thanks for the post, OP. It's nice to know that science is finally catching up to what we all know in our hearts.



posted on Nov, 13 2011 @ 10:42 AM
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Originally posted by FissionSurplus

It was then that I noticed a flood of tears rolling down his face. In a coma, my father was crying.

It was one of the most profound moments of my life.

I look at comatose people as fully aware spirits trapped in a body that no longer works. As far as I'm concerned, comatose people can hear and feel, and if your loved one is in a coma, you should talk to them, and tell them everything you would want them to know.


That was a healing moment for both of you I hope.


I can't imagine being stuck in a place I couldn't communicate. It would be most frightning and lonely.



posted on Nov, 13 2011 @ 10:46 AM
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read this elsewhere "Imagine the horror of having to live an existence of this nature. Apparently the interface between the brain and the outside world gets broken and there is no communication passed from the patient and the outside. The only solution is to build a new interface. Research must be done to create a new interface to the human computer in these patients. They need to know they have not been forgotten. It's not good enough to just "pull the plug". Man is capable of creating immensely complicated computer systems and video games, there is no reason with the right research and people an interface cannot be developed."



posted on Nov, 13 2011 @ 10:48 AM
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reply to post by FissionSurplus
 


It's truly touching to hear that you were able to bring some closure between you and your father, even if he wasn't in the greatest condition.

And then I think about the people that could have done this with their loved ones, but didn't, because some doctor told them that it was no use and would have better results talking to a wall. The cumulative regret must be great.
edit on 13-11-2011 by satron because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 13 2011 @ 11:05 AM
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Kinda of disgusting to think of all the Doctors who stood over comatose people and assured their loved ones with 100% assurance that the coma patients where brain dead.

Imagine the horror of hearing your Dr tell your family your gone and to pull the plug, unable to tell them or signal that your still there...

Than you add the motivation of Insurance companies and HMO's to not spend the money, and you begin to wonder why doctors where 100% percent sure that these people where "brain dead".
edit on 13-11-2011 by benrl because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 13 2011 @ 03:49 PM
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Very interesting, i read somewhere a while ago that some doctor found a electro stimulation treatment that could wake approximately 20% of people who are in comas, I wonder If that 20% is the same 20% that still has brain waves.



posted on Nov, 13 2011 @ 04:12 PM
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This is something that has always fascinated me. I was comatose for a month and a half after developing a serious infection from a double bowel resection. I was aware of a lot that was going on around me at the time. But for me the most "vivid" thing I remember was knowing that my father was there because I could smell his cologne.

I knew that I was trapped in my own mind/body. There were times that I believed that I was going to be left for dead because I could hear them conversing about how long was too long to leave me on life support. Thank God for mothers who don't give up on their children!



posted on Nov, 13 2011 @ 04:42 PM
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Originally posted by cloudwatcher
This is something that has always fascinated me. I was comatose for a month and a half after developing a serious infection from a double bowel resection. I was aware of a lot that was going on around me at the time. But for me the most "vivid" thing I remember was knowing that my father was there because I could smell his cologne.

I knew that I was trapped in my own mind/body. There were times that I believed that I was going to be left for dead because I could hear them conversing about how long was too long to leave me on life support. Thank God for mothers who don't give up on their children!






wow! what a trip. even if i dont know you im glad your mom never gave up on you and you made it out.

it must be truly horrific to be trapped in your own body? i can't even imagine and i have a pretty good imagination.

all the best to you! you're a brave one.
edit on 13-11-2011 by krossfyter because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 13 2011 @ 04:48 PM
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I have no doubt this is very true. And have witnessed something I consider to be the same type situation.

When my mom was put on life support and the doctor told my sister they wanted to unplug her due to people don`t come out of the state she was in they said I needed to get down to Florida and me and my sister decided they are going to give her some time. We would have been fine with a week or close but 24 hours after being admitted to the hospital just wasn`t cutting it for us.
Well surprise surprise she pulled out of it and could tell you what was said and this which I think everyone should know.

When your body is in that relaxed state of no muscle control you need to move the joints and stuff to keep them in motion. If you don`t if and when they recover they will have trouble regaining motion and be in very much pain. Well the nurse was the best she was moving every joint as you should but here is the one big thing my mom said was who put the pillow against her feet to hold them up right.

You see there is a thing called foot drop I think they called it. Your feet will totally relax and the foot straightens out like as if you was a ballerina. Prop those feet up and stop this from happening and move those joints.
She said that was the most painful thing she has ever felt in her life and to be sure to do it if ever around this type situation again.

en.wikipedia.org...

Please look at these images and you will better understand foot drop.

www.google.com...
click images to the left side
And if you look at the 7th picture (Foot Drop Splints) that is similar to what the nurse did with the pillow or rolled up blanket to help the foot stand upright. Please don`t leave them dropped

Sorry to hear of the previous posters father but glad you did open your heart when you did to him.

edit on 11/13/2011 by Connman because: link to pictures didn`t work



posted on Nov, 14 2011 @ 12:56 AM
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Interesting. Yet some who come out of a coma say they don't remember anything?

Where dos this leave us with the research because people are speculating with those still in comas and can';t prove anything.



posted on Nov, 14 2012 @ 11:54 AM
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Wow - this is absolutely fascinating. When my grandmother was on her death bed in a coma we were told that she really wasn't aware of anything and that her movements and occasional opening and closing of her eyes were just muscle spasms or something like that (I don't remember their exact "explanation"). I still talked to her as if she could hear me and we ler her know that we were there and that we loved her and all. Her eyes did open somewhat while we talked to her and even though they appeared to be somewhat vacant and unfocused, I still believe she heard us and understood us and I believe that she was happy that we made it literally across the country in time to see her one more time. She died later that night after we had left the hospital. I believe she waited until we were gone to spare us from actually watching her die.

FissionSurplus - thank you for sharing that. What a very moving story and like you said - what a profound moment that must have been... probably for him too.

Cloudwatcher - I could not imagine how frustrating and frightening that must have been. I'm glad you pulled through! Thanks for sharing!

These stories are also good reminders for everyone else to stop our stubbornness and tell all of our loved ones how much we love them right now. Even if there are issues. Just set aside your need to be "right" or get an apology or whatever and tell them all how much you love them. Because you just never know when life might just give you a sudden kick in the nuts and then it's too late.



posted on Nov, 25 2012 @ 03:11 AM
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reply to post by FissionSurplus
 


FissionSurplus: I had a similar experience with my grandfather, whom I felt very close to. He had been suffering small strokes but a massive stroke in 2004 left him in a coma. I rushed down to the hospital to find out he had a DNR in place and we had to say our goodbyes before unplugging the respirator. I spent some time alone, holding his hand, saying how much he meant to me, how he was the only father figure in my life and that I was thankful for his advice and love, that I appreciated him and that I loved him dearly. Tears began to roll down his face. At the time I was still in graduate school and rationally thought he could not hear me, that he was unconscious, in a coma, about to die, that his tears must be some kind of biological reaction to stimulus about which I had just not yet learned. But another part of me believed he heard me. He did not gain consciousness and I am comforted that maybe I was able to ease his transition.

I was just talking with my mom and significant other about this research over TG turkey - ah, holiday banter. We often talk about what we want to have happen to us in the event of a medical emergency. I have always said that I don't want to be a burden and if I am "brain dead," please let me go.

Then I read about Dr. Owen's research (also linked here).

Then I read cloudwatcher's post:

I knew that I was trapped in my own mind/body. There were times that I believed that I was going to be left for dead because I could hear them conversing about how long was too long to leave me on life support. Thank God for mothers who don't give up on their children!

How terrifying! Words cannot express my emotion at hearing you had to suffer through that.

I understand that the patients Dr. Owen works with are in persistent vegetative states. Of course, I would hope that my loved ones would be able to communicate with me via this technology if I were to ever be in a persistent vegetative state. And, I am certainly not a neuroscientist so this question may be naive, but I am wondering how this technology might be applied to more accurately diagnose "brain death" since I understand that some vegetative states can mimic brain death? There seems to still be a lot of controversy on this matter. Is applying this kind of fMRI simply overkill and too expensive? Is current technology satisfactory? Any neuroscientists out there wanna weigh in?






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