BEERSHEBA - Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma for seven years, has surprised doctors by showing brain activity and a "certain degree of consciousness" for the first time since his debilitating stroke.
The extent of the 84-year-old's response is still limited as he cannot move any muscle, though he had his eyes open during a visual exam using family pictures. The equipment also detected signs of his brain responding to his son Gilad’s voice, Reuters reported.
Sharon had displayed no sign of brain activity since his Jan 2006 stroke that upended Israeli politics in the midst of an election campaign, after the former hawkish general had vowed to begin pulling Israel out of the West Bank.
Alon Friedman, neurological director at Israel’s Soroka Medical center in Beersheba stated that the exams, which began Thursday, were “encouraging,” but added that “the chances of him getting out of bed are very, very slim,” reported Reuters.
Haaretz noted that the doctors hope that the extensive monitoring of Sharon can be used in research on the different degrees of consciousness of those in long-term vegetative states.
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Ariel Sharon in 2004, Wikipedia