These results confirm that, despite fulfillingIt also opens the clear possibility of communicating with such patients ("if you want to answer yes, think about tennis, if you want to answer no, think about reading").
the clinical criteria for a diagnosis of vegetative
state, this patient retained the ability to under-
stand spoken commands and to respond to them
through her brain activity, rather than through
speech or movement. Moreover, her decision to
cooperate with the authors by imagining partic-
ular tasks when asked to do so represents a clear
act of intention, which confirmed beyond any
doubt that she was consciously aware of herself
and her surroundings.
Since this study was on a single vegetative patient, it doesn't say anything about other similar patients. It does indicate that that there should be no enthusiastic rush to treat vegetative patients, like Terri Shiavo, as if they were already dead.