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Brain-injured man to be part of study

A report in the U.K.’s Daily Mail concerns a young man with a brain injury who’s now living in what doctors believe may be a vegetative state. According to the story, the condition is characterized by patients being awake, but without awareness of themselves or the outside world.

Alex Seaman, 20, isn’t in a coma, the article says. He’s awake and his eyes are open at times. But he has no apparent awareness or ability to respond. The story says he’s been in that condition for 18 months, since hitting his head when he jumped off a moving bus after missing his stop.

He has subsequently survived several bouts of critical illness, including pneumonia and infection.

The Daily Mail says Seaman’s family has enrolled him in a U.K. research project designed to discover if he does have a functioning mind trapped in an unresponsive body.

Neuroscientists at Cambridge University are using functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure blood flow in the brain, with the intent of detecting brain activity that occurs when someone is thinking.

Over the past two decades, the story says, more than 40 vegetative patients have been allowed to die in the U.K. through the court-approved withdrawal of feeding tubes. The story says the research on brain activity may be a factor in such decisions in the future.

If you or a loved one have suffered a traumatic brain injury, check with Lopez McHugh for a free consultation to see what your legal options are.