We discuss and comment on the role agriculture will play in the containment of the CO2 problem and address protocols for terraforming the planet Earth.
A model farm template is imagined as the central methodology. A broad range of timely science news and other topics of interest are commented on.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Communication Across the Vegetative State
Slowly but surely we are learning to apply MRI data to query the
patient. It can become effective and needs to be. Certainly we have
plenty of cooperative patients here.
Using memory chains may turn out useful here. In that case a string
of objects are clearly visualized and memorized. Then other data is
associated with the string to establish data communication flow. I
think this could be made to work.
These people are in prisons and lack sensory stimulation. It should
be easy to fix that. Right now they are simply trying to ask a
couple of questions.
Canadian man in vegetative state communicate with doctors
By Linda Nguyen, The
Canadian Press November 13, 2012
TORONTO - For more
than a decade, Scott Routley has been living in a vegetative state.
He can't talk. He
can't move. And although his eyes are open, no one is sure whether he
But now, for the first
time, doctors caring for the 39-year-old London, Ont., man say they
know he's not in pain.
And they learned it
from Routley himself, by analyzing his brain waves when they asked
"This was a
landmark moment for us because for the first time, a patient can
actually tell us information, important information about how they're
feeling and their current situation," said lead researcher Dr.
Adrian Owen on Tuesday.
breakthrough, believed to be the only time a severely brain injured
patient has been able to relay clinically relevant information to
their doctors, is being touted as a new way to possibly improve their
quality of care.
Owen, who is the head
of the Brain and Mind Institute at the University of Western Ontario,
says research published online last year in The Lancet shows that
one in five of these patients are conscious, but essentially trapped
in their bodies because they're unable to communicate verbally or
His team has been
working for the past year trying to determine whether Routley, who
became vegetative following a car crash 12 years ago, had any
"residual brain activity" and how much he was able to
Last June, the doctors
employed a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine (fMRI) to
see if they would be able to analyze his brain patterns.
They told Routley that
they wanted him to imagine that he was playing tennis if he wasn't in
pain or imagine that he was walking around his house if he was in
The thought process
involved in playing a complex sport like tennis triggers the part of
the brain that controls motor skills, while thinking about walking
around your house triggers visual associations — contained in a
separate area of the brain.
With the fMRI, doctors
were able to measure the activity in Routley's brain and conclude he
was trying to tell them he was free of pain.
Owen says for now,
this technology is effective in determining responses to simple yes
or no questions but may eventually pave the way for vegetative
patients to communicate on a regular basis using a computer-assisted
"We can use this
type of technology to ask them what sort of entertainment they want
to be exposed to? Do they want to watch TV or do they want to listen
to music? What type of music? What time would they like to be fed...
activities of daily living which are entirely under the control of
these people around them, the people caring for them," he said.
"We can now ask
the patients about these things and give them a role in the decision
making that governs their life."
Neurologist Dr. Bryan
Young says Routley's family has always been "convinced"
that he was awake and aware in his state.
He says this
technology has the potential to become an instrumental tool for the
medical community to assess whether a vegetative patient wants to
live or die.
But Young warned that
it would only be helpful if there was a reliable test available to
determine if the patient was psychologically sound, and able to make
and convey their wishes.
"One has to
establish, though, that apart from these simple responses to these
simple commands, they are able to think in a deeper and more profound
way about their quality of life and their wishes and goals and what
they would prefer," he said.
Routley, who is
currently living at the Parkwood Hospital in London, is among several
vegetative Canadian and British patients featured in a documentary
airing Tuesday on the BBC.