Putting the Brain in Control: From Brain Reading to Brain Communication
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When Jean-Dominique Bauby, a successful French journalist and editor of the fashion magazine Elle, suffered a stroke in 1995 at the age of 43 his life changed completely. The stroke had affected his brainstem and when he awoke from three weeks in a coma he found himself unable to talk or move his limbs. He could only communicate through opening or closing his eyes to indicate yes or no responses. However, he was able to process information from the outside world through his sensory channels, to think, feel, evoke old memories and form new ones. We know this because, true to his profession, he went on to dictate a book, Le Scaphandre et le Papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), with the help of a speech therapist who had devised a system whereby he could form words by picking letters from visually presented streams using his eye blink responses. His book, which was also adapted into a movie, became a bestseller immediately after its release in March 1997, but Bauby died a few days after publication. Shortly before his death from pneumonia he had set up an association for those suffering from the same condition, the Association du Locked-in Syndrome.
KeywordsConditioned Stimulus Motor Cortex Motor Imagery Primary Motor Cortex Brain Control
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