After 15 Years in a Vegetative State, Nerve Stimulation Restores Consciousness

September 25, 2017

(Medical Xpress) – A 35-year-old man who had been in a vegetative state for 15 years after a car accident has shown signs of consciousness after neurosurgeons implanted a vagus nerve stimulator into his chest. The findings reported in Current Biology on September 25 show that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS)—a treatment already in use for epilepsy and depression—can help to restore consciousness even after many years in a vegetative state. The outcome challenges the general belief that disorders of consciousness that persist for longer than 12 months are irreversible, the researchers say.

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