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The Myth of the "Vegetative" Brain

Of all the stories I've produced for Global 16x9, one of my special favourites is a piece we first broadcast in the spring of 2013, called "Waking the Brain."


It's the story of three individuals--Leonard Rodrigues, Rohan Pais and Kate Bainbridge--who were all diagnosed as vegetative or "brain dead" after a catastrophic accident or illness. But the doctors were wrong. As their families discovered, all three did in fact have some brain function, and two of them are on the road to recovery. Kate, who lives in Cambridge, England, has actually written a book and paints watercolours.

In the case of Rohan and Kate, their brains were unlocked through the work of a remarkable Anglo-Canadian scientist--Dr. Adrian Owen of Western University in London, Ontario. Owen discovered that as many as one-fifth of all patients diagnosed as vegetative may  have some detectable brain function, and that this enables them to communicate with their doctors and loved ones.

And that may be the first step to recovery from brain injury once thought to be incurable.

In conversation with 16x9 executive producer Laurie Few, I talked about the making of this story. YOU CAN SEE THAT CONVERSATION HERE.

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