CNN – Even in a coma, brain imaging technology has shown, some people’s brains show blood flow patterns that indicate something is going on inside their heads, although it’s not necessarily indicative of awareness.
Doctors say they have observed “significant brain activity” in former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. They are basing this statement on the results of experiments done with functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, showing that Sharon’s brain behaves differently when he is presented with familiar sounds and pictures than with unfamiliar stimuli.
“It suggests the brain has the capability to react,” said Dr. Fatta Nahab, neuroscientist at the University of Miami, who is not involved in Sharon’s care. “What that means in terms of long-term outcomes is indeterminate.”
FMRI lets scientists see changes in blood flow in the brain, which is associated with neuronal activity. It does not measure the actual activity, but can provide clues that some areas are still functional.