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. . . [Full text]
Corazzol and Lio et al. Current Biology, “Restoring consciousness with vagus nerve stimulation.” DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.07.060