Former Israeli Leader Shows Signs of Consciousness After Seven Years in a Coma

The Atlantic Wire

Former Israeli Prime Minster Ariel Sharon has spent the last seven years in coma, but doctors say he's starting to show "significant brain activity." Sharon suffered a massive stroke in 2006 and has been kept alive by a respirator while in a vegetative state under the care of doctors at the Soroka Hospital in Beersheba, Israel. But doctors are saying he responded to external stimuli in their latest round of tests, which were carried out Thursday by a joint Israeli-American team of scientists. Sharon's brain activity increased significantly when he was shown pictures of his family and he heard a recording of his son's voice. 

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Doctors think Sharon may be "locked in," which means the paralysis suffered from the stroke prevents him responding physically, but he's otherwise conscious. And while they were excited about the activity Sharon showed after such a long period of time, and what it could mean for stroke research in the future, they warned the chances Sharon ever leaves the hospital are slim. "The chances of him getting out of bed are very, very slim," Alon Friedman, a neurological director at the Israeli hospital, said.

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