Scientists have been able to reach into the mind of a brain-damaged man and communicate with his thoughts.
The research, carried out at in the UK and in Belgium, involved a new brain scanning method.
Awareness was detected in three other patients previously diagnosed as being in a vegetative state.
The study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that scans can detect signs of awareness in patients thought to be closed off from the world.
She said the hospital did a study of 60 patients admitted with a diagnosis of vegetative state and 43% could communicate.
I really hate the term 'vegetative state'. People, whatever their state of consciousness, are never vegetables. To so label them reduces them to sub-human status. This makes it easier for people to 'pull the plug' and not have their consciences' troubled. After all they are only killing a vegetable, the person is no longer a human being, at least in their minds.