Sunday, February 27, 2011

Locked-in Syndrome

I ran across something intriguing the other day. It is a condition called locked-in. According to a BBC health article, the disease "traps people in their own body." A person is able to think but cannot move or talk. This condition is caused by spinal cord injury. 

This article article focuses on the happy tendencies of locked-in patients. The British Medical Journal reports that out of 65 patients, 72% reported being happy. The other side is quite dark, but important.  7% reported  help to commit suicide. Patients of locked-in respond through blinking their eyes. This research will likely effect the assisted suicide debate. 

Experts have expressed concern about assumptions on people's mental state. The study showed an interesting result: the longer people were locked-in, the happier. This may be due to the patient's ability to attain a "state of subjective wellbeing" over time. In many cases patients recovered some speech and limb movement. 

Researchers at the University of Liege in Belgium suggest that afflicted patients should be informed early that they have a chance of regaining a happy life.

See the article in BBC.

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