Exclusive: Brain scans used to read minds of intensive care patients


By Clare Wilson

People in intensive care can be unable to say what treatment they wantMartin Barraud/GettyWhen a person sustains a severe brain injury that leaves them unable to communicate, their families and doctors often have to make life-or-death decisions about their care for them. Now brain scanners are being tested in intensive care to see if mind-reading can enable some patients to have their say, New Scientist can reveal.
At the moment, doctors ask the families of people who have a poor prognosis and cannot communicate if they think their relative would want to continue life-sustaining treatments such as being on a ventilator. “Life would be so much easier if you could just ask the person,” says Adrian Owen at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.
Owen’s team previously developed a brain-scanning approach for a much smaller group of people – those in states between…



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