Man Responds After 15 Year Vegetative State Following Nerve Implant
By Aaron Kesel, Natural Blaze
Stimulation of a vital nerve in the body, the vagus nerve, allowed a patient who had been in a vegetative state for 15 years to become consciously aware, The Guardian reported.
The treatment contradicts other studies that have determined there is no possibility of a patient recovering consciousness if they have been in PVS (persistent vegetative state) for longer than 12 months, according to a new study published in the journal Current Biology.
At the center of our bodies resides a long, wiry nerve called the vagus nerve. It extends all the way from the brain down through the chest and beyond the stomach. In addition, it connects to all major organs, including ears, eyes, tongue, kidneys, bladder, reproductive organs, and the colon. The nerve also plays a role in alertness and consciousness within the brain.
The man, not named in the study, sustained severe brain injuries after he was involved in a car accident which left him in delusion about the world around him.
That all changed when the man received an implant to stimulate the vagus nerve.
“In surgery lasting about 20 minutes, a small implant was placed around the vagus nerve in the man’s neck. After one month of vagal nerve stimulation, the patient’s attention, movements and brain activity significantly improved and he had shifted into a state of minimal consciousness.
Recordings of brain activity also revealed major changes, with signs of increased electrical communication between brain regions and significantly more activity in areas linked to movement, sensation and awareness,” The Guardian, wrote.
This allowed the man to be able to track objects with his eyes, read a book, and even respond to some simple requests like moving his head.
Although the man is still paralyzed and cannot talk and barely move, according to the lead researcher Angela Sirigu who led the study at the Institut des Sciences Cognitives Marc Jeannerod in Lyon, France, he is more aware of his state.
“He is still paralyzed, he cannot talk, but he can respond. Now he is more aware,” Sirigu said.
Which in itself should raise several ethical questions. First, is the study right to allow human experimentation and to bring someone back from paralysis to recognize their own state? Second, the man is now aware of his state after being unaware for 15 years – what type of psychological effect does that have on him after being disconnected from reality for so long?
“I cannot answer to this question,” Sirigu. “Personally I think it’s better to be aware, even if it’s a bad state, to be conscious of what’s happening. Then you can have a decision if you want to go on or if you want euthanasia.”
The vagus nerve is also a key part of your health. People with impaired vagal activity can suffer from depression, panic disorders, anxiety, mood swings and chronic fatigue.
Physically, vagal imbalance can result in irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, heartburn, unhealthy heart rate, and chronic inflammation.
The nerve in yoga and ancient cultures is seen as the kundalini snake that goes up the back of your spine (not to be confused with chakras which are believed to be within the kundalini). Essentially, researchers just confirmed what the Hindus have known for years – that you have to take care of your vagus.
Although this specific study is controversial due to its ethical concerns, it may lead to solutions for less severe brain trauma and impaired vagus nerve activity, and could potentially be the find of the century that can help all areas of a person’s health.
DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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Aaron Kesel goes by AK writes for Natural Blaze & Activist Post, and is the Director of content for Coinivore. He is an independent journalist and researcher you can check out more of his work on Steemit. Find Aaron on Twitter.