NEWS: Eye-Opener: Naps Linked with Higher Risk of Death
PET scans, which can detect more subtle brain activity than the more frequently used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans, found that a significant percentage of patients who were thought to have no brain activity at all had in fact progressed to minimally conscious states. PET scans predicted a return to consciousness for 13 out of 41 subjects deemed by bedside observation as unlikely to regain consciousness.
The lead author of the study told The New York Times that PET scans "might show signs of awareness in people who turn out to have little or no chance of meaningful recovery," but that "We shouldn't give these families false hope. It's just a very complex medical reality. Quantifying consciousness is tricky."
Near-Death Experiences A 2001 article published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences by neuroscientist Dean Mobbs, of the University of Cambridge's Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, and Caroline Watt, of the University of Edinburgh, found that "contrary to popular belief, research suggests that there is nothing paranormal about these (near-death) experiences. Instead, near-death experiences are the manifestation of normal brain function gone awry, during a traumatic, and sometimes harmless, event."