Brain and Mind Institute
November 14, 2012 — Recent media reports based on a BBC television special report focused on the story of Scott Routley who experienced a severe brain injury in a car accident and who has not spoken for 12 years. Routley has been diagnosed as being in a vegetative state.
Owen uses an MRI scanner to record the reaction of the brain to specific questions. A Toronto Star article described the process in this manner:
“We put him in an MRI scanner and while he is in the scanner we ask him to imagine doing certain things in his mind . . . for example, we ask him to imagine using his arms. Scott is unable to use his arms in reality but it turns out he is perfectly able to imagine moving his arms. And we can pick that up on the scanner and we can tell he’s doing what we ask him to do”