In recent years, scientists have learned that some patients believed to be in a vegetative state actually have some awareness and that they might be able to communicate. Now, a new study suggests a portable brain monitor can detect signs of this, perhaps making it possible someday for doctors to easily double-check the diagnosis at the bedside. Researchers used an EEG machine to examine brain waves and found that three of 16 vegetative patients could understand what they heard and follow instructions.
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