JERUSALEM (JTA) – Tests on former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon showed that he has significant brain activity, despite being presumed to be in a vegetative state.
The tests conducted at Soroka University Medical Center to assess to what extent Sharon’s brain responded to external stimuli showed significant brain activity, including when he saw photos of his family and heard his son’s voice, the medical center said in a statement issued Sunday.
The tests were conducted late last week.
“Information from the external world is being transferred to the appropriate parts of Mr. Sharon’s brain, however, the evidence does not as clearly indicate whether Mr. Sharon is consciously perceiving this information,” according to Professor Martin Monti of the departments of psychology and neurosurgery at the University of California Los Angeles.
Monti recently developed new methods to assess the extent and quality of the brain processing of people in vegetative states and is collaborating with Soroka.
“The test was routine, but the results not entirely so,” former Sharon aide Raanan Gissin told the French news agency AFP last Friday. “There was some kind of positive indication.”
Sharon, 84, has been in a vegetative state since 2006, when he suffered a severe stroke.