Neuroscience and philosophy of vegetative state

BBC Radio 4 science programme Frontiers just started a new series, and the first programme was an in-depth investigation of the science and tricky moral and clinical problems thrown up by patients in a persistent vegetative state or PVS.

The programme talks to the researchers behind the recent study that used brain scanning to infer that a patient thought to be in PVS was actually conscious.

Doctors on the programme discuss the difficulty in diagnosing the condition, and whether functional brain scans should be used as part of the standard diagnostic checks.

Also involved in the discussion is Martin Coleman from Cambridge University’s Impaired Consciousness Group who are researching whether brain-computer interfaces could help people incapacitated by brain-injury.

Link to Frontiers webpage on Vegetative State edition.
realaudio of programme audio.

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