A man who spent six years unable to talk, eat or walk as a result of severe brain damage has made a remarkable recovery thanks to a revolutionary implant of electrodes deep in his brain.
How the procedure works: Click to enlarge
The 38-year-old had been written off by one doctor as a vegetable but he is now able to talk, laugh, drink, chew and carry out simple tasks such as brushing his teeth.
The man had been left in a “minimally conscious state” after being beaten up and robbed. He was unable to speak audibly and could only communicate by a nod, or tiny eye or finger movements.
He was also unable to chew or swallow, and had to be fed through a tube. His eyes mostly remained shut.
But after two electrodes delivered pulses of electricity to arouse his brain, he can now use words and gestures, respond reliably to requests, eat normally, drink from a cup, and carry out simple tasks such as brushing his hair, though his muscles have wasted and contracted so it is uncertain he will ever walk again.
The American patient’s family has requested that he not be identified, but speaking today his mother said: “I prayed for a miracle The most important part is that he can say 'Mummy and pop, I love you'. God bless those wonderful doctors. I still cry every time I see my son, but it is tears of joy.”
It's just too bad that Terry Schiavo's parents didn't have the opportunity to give their daughter this chance at a partial recovery. One might have thought that her husband, too, would have wanted to wait for a medical breakthrough of this type. Guess not.