Technical Comments

Comment on "Detecting Awareness in the Vegetative State"

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Science  02 Mar 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5816, pp. 1221
DOI: 10.1126/science.1135284


Owen et al. (Brevia, 8 September 2006, p. 1402) claimed that a patient's brain activity revealed that she was consciously responding to commands despite being in a vegetative state. However, several alternative explanations were not eliminated. Specifically, the activity could reflect unconscious reactions to the last word in the command, not conscious decisions to respond. A refined experimental design could clarify these issues.

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