The medical world is rejoicing in the announcement that a new type of electrical nerve stimulation treatment partially revived a patient who had been unresponsive for over 16 years. The non-invasive technique involves placing electrical nodes on the neck, which send pulses via the vagus nerve to the brain and to several areas of the body. This stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for heart rate, lung function and other subconscious bodily functions.
This process has been developed by a team of surgeons from the French National Centre for Scientific Research led by Angela Sirigu. They found that after just one month of stimulation, the patient was able to track his eyes around the room and respond to doctors’ requests to move his head from side to side. This man had been involved in a car accident in 2001, and since then he had been completely without consciousness. Many experts incorrectly believe that this type of coma is just a stage of “waiting to die”. However, this new breakthrough indicates that it is indeed possible for some patients to make a partial recovery.