Brain Dead? Perhaps it's time to think again...


#1

Rethinking the Conscious Mind
To be aware or not to be aware: that is the question.
By Anne Casselman
DISCOVER Vol. 27 No. 12 | December 2006 | Mind & Brain

http://www.discover.com/images/issues/dec-06/normalbrain175.jpg http://www.discover.com/images/issues/dec-06/veggiebrain175.jpg

In response to a command, a vegetative patient’s brain (right) shows activity similar to a healthy person’s (left).

In response to a command, a vegetative patient’s brain (top) shows activity similar to a healthy person’s (bottom).

Brain scans of a 23-year-old woman who, in a traffic accident, sustained head injuries so severe she met the clinical criteria for a vegetative state are forcing many doctors to reconsider what they know about such patients’ awareness.

In the experiment the woman was instructed to imagine playing tennis or walking around her house for 30 seconds when given the cues “tennis” or “house.” Her brain activity proved identical to that of healthy subjects, suggesting that she carried out the commands.

“We’ve come up with a method for determining that a patient is aware, where the existing clinical techniques were not able to,” says Adrian Owen, a neuroscientist at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, England, who led the study.

See the link above for more…

I think this kind of research may have profound implications of the very basis upon which many who adhere to euthanisia make their claims. I know what the Catholic Church teaches on the morality of these matters, but I would like to hear other fellow Catholic’s thoughts on this.

I would also like to hear what other Christian denominations, and even other non-Christian religions and philosophies might think about the potential implications which might come of this research.

Thanks.


#2

Nothing can excuse the killing of any elderly person or any person who is so-called “brain-dead” because life can only be decided by God from the moment of conception to the time of natural death.

If such a bad accident did not kill this woman and she still has brain activity, it is for a reason; a reason of which God only knows. So who are we to mess with this person’s life? We’re not God.


#3

thank you


#4

I agree.

[quote=AlegreFe]If such a bad accident did not kill this woman and she still has brain activity, it is for a reason; a reason of which God only knows. So who are we to mess with this person’s life? We’re not God.
[/quote]

Exactly. I agree with you here.

Actually, I’m saying that these kinds of studies (I think) may have the potential to dislodge many of the pro-death arguments. Research like this, provided it can be brought to fruition, means that all those people who sat with their loved ones and reading to them were most likely not doing this in vain as the pro-death advocates proclaim. In other words, the minds of the people in the comatose state may have been listening all along.

In fact, provided this research pans out favorbaly in the area of conscious thought, I think research like this may inevitably lead to a form of communication with those who are suffering some form of brain damage and thought to be enturely unable to be aware of the world around them.

Of course, even if the person were showing no signs of brain activity, it still doesn’t mean we then have the right to murder them as the pro-death advocates state. All the same, I think research like this may in fact lead to the beginning of a reversal in the secular world as to how valid euthanasia actually is.

It’s one thing when someone who doesn’t believe says that there’s no reason for them to stay alive. It’s another thing when these people are in a comatose state and yet still able to potentially communicate via these signals and say, “No. I want to live.”


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.