A brain-damaged man, trapped in a coma-like state for six years, has been brought back to consciousness by doctors who planted electrodes deep inside his brain.

Deep Brain Stimulation
The doctors implanted DBS electrodes in the central thalamus, a region that plays a key role in regulating sleep and consciousness (image:Cleveland Clinic)
Original article from Cosmos Online, 2 Aug 07

The method, called deep-brain electrical stimulation (DBS) has successfully roused communication, complex movement and eating ability in the 38 year-old American man who suffered a traumatic brain injury and for six years showed few signs of recovery.
His injuries left him in a ‘minimally conscious state’ (MCS) – a condition akin to a coma but characterised by occasional, but brief, evidence of environmental and self-awareness that coma patients lack. It’s thought to currently afflict up to an estimated 300, 000 patients in the USA.
Read the full article at Cosmos Online here
read the corresponding letter in Nature magazine:
Behavioural improvements with thalamic stimulation after severe traumatic brain injury, Nature 448, 600-603 (2 August 2007)

An animation of deep-brain simulation – also known as a ‘brain pacemaker’ – tiny electrodes are implanted within the brain and connected to a pacemaker battery in the chest. ( Cleveland Clinic).

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