It may turn out that fewer patients are actually in a vegetative state than we think.
Researchers are currently testing the Halifax Consciousness Scanner, a device that uses words and tones to measure brain function in patients that have suffered severe trauma or stroke-induced brain injuries.
... In developing the scanner, doctors first measure brain-wave patterns to create a picture of a healthy individual’s brain, which is then compared to the picture that is produced by an impaired brain.
Doctors are then able to determine the extent of the injuries and a long-term outlook for a patient’s recovery.
The team behind the Halifax Consciousness Scanner is hoping to test the device on more brain trauma patients and eventually have units in ambulances and emergency rooms to gain accurate brain status readings of unconscious and semi-conscious patients.
Researchers are also teaming with engineers to develop a hand-held consciousness scanner and headset.