A crash victim thought to have been in a vegetative state for more than a decade has used the power of thought to tell scientists he is not in pain.
Canadian Scott Routley, from London, Ontario, communicated with researchers via a brain scan, proving that he is conscious and aware. It is the first time such a severely brain-damaged patient has been able to provide clinically relevant information to doctors.
British neuroscientist Professor Adrian Owen, who leads the research team at the Brain and Mind Institute of Western Ontario, said: "Scott has been able to show he has a conscious, thinking mind. We have scanned him several times and his pattern of brain activity shows he is clearly choosing to answer our questions. We believe he knows who and where he is."
He said the breakthrough could lead to improvements in the treatment of severely brain-damaged patients who cannot move or speak.
Vegetative patient Scott Routley says 'I'm not in pain'
A Canadian man who was believed to have been in a vegetative state for more than a decade, has been able to tell scientists that he is not in any pain.
It's the first time an uncommunicative, severely brain-injured patient has been able to give answers clinically relevant to their care.
Scott Routley, 39, was asked questions while having his brain activity scanned in an fMRI machine.
His doctor says the discovery means medical textbooks will need rewriting.