Ideas

The Open Mind: Are 'unconscious' patients more conscious than we think?

New scientific tools are opening windows into what goes on inside another person's mind. People who'd once have been judged 'vegetative' or 'lacking awareness', might now be able to show they're 'still there', and ultimately communicate with the outside world through a brain scan. Philosophy PhD student Andrew Peterson is embedded with scientists at the Brain and Mind Institute at Western University and considers the ethical and moral questions emerging from this cutting edge research.
Dr. Adrian Owen's ground-breaking research demonstrates that some patients who were once considered to be in a vegetative state have some level of awareness and are able to respond to simple commands. (Western University)
Listen to the full episode53:58
New scientific tools are opening windows into what goes on inside another person's mind. People who'd once have been judged 'vegetative' or 'lacking awareness', might now be able to show they're 'still there', and ultimately communicate with the outside world through a brain scan. Philosophy PhD student Andrew Peterson is embedded with scientists at the Brain and Mind Institute at Western University and considers the ethical and moral questions emerging from this cutting edge research. **This episode originally aired May 4, 2016.

Linda Bruni captures a special moment with her brain-injured sister Ida 1:13

 
Philosophy PhD student Andrew Peterson at Western University studies the ethics of medical research on severely brain injured patients. "People who have injuries can lead extraordinary lives after injury. For these patients, the science unlocks the voice and what I want to do is empower their voice."


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Ideas from the Trenches is produced by Nicola Luksic and Tom Howell. 

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