Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Life Links 5/24/06

The Guardian has a story on men in persistent vegetative states which weren't so persistent. Three men were given a drug which is commonly used as a sleeping pill. The drug, Zolpidem, aroused them after 20 minutes and its effects lasted around 4 hours.
Patient L had been in a vegetative state for three years, showing no reaction to touch and no response to his family. After he was given the drug, he was able to talk to them. Patient G was also able to interact with family, answer simple questions and catch a baseball. Patient N "was constantly uttering random screams". After he was given the drug, the screaming stopped, and he started watching television and reacting to his family.

Chuck Colson has a column on Michael Schiavo's book. Though most of the column is good, Colson unfortunately and incorrectly states the autopsy found that Terri was brain dead. "The vision centers of her brain were dead" and her brain was half of the size it normally would be but Terri's autopsy doesn't claim she was brain dead. Stephen Nelson even notes at the end of his exam that "Neuropathologic examination alone of the decedent's brain - or any brain, for that matter - cannot prove or disprove a diagnosis of persistent vegetative state or minimally conscious state."

William Saletan chronicles the United Kingdom's advance towards eugenics.

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