Into the Gray Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border



10 thoughts on “Into the Gray Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death

  1. Petra-X Petra-X says:

    Please read, you don t have to like it, but really this could save your life or the life of a loved one If you are 100% paralyzed from a brain injury, whether it is from disease or an accident, you are very likely to be diagnosed quite quickly as being in a vegative state The next step is to remove the life support And you re dead But say your body is dead but your mind is 100% alive and well in that heavy, iron Diving Bell and you could hear and see everything that was going on You migh Please read, you don t have to like it, but really this could save your life or the life of a loved one If you are 100% paralyzed from a brain injury, whether it is from disease or an accident, you are very likely to be diagnosed quite quickly as being in a vegative state The next step is to remove the life support And you re dead But say your body is dead but your mind is 100% alive and well in that heavy, iron Diving Bell and you could hear and see everything that was going on You might want to live if people knew that and were willing to provide you with intellectual stimulation and know your choices This book details exactly how that communication is possible.I was out having a drink with a nurse anaethetist the other night, pretty highly educated and involved in hospital care, and he didn t know about this So don t think that if you or a loved one should end up in this terrible state of looking permanently comatose, that your doctors will know about this You have to write it down and discuss it with your nearest and dearest.This may work immediately, or it may not work for weeks, or possibly months It is only going to work in a minority of people as the others are either genuinely vegetative or technology has not advanced to the stage where we can see that there is still a person in there How it was done, at least one of the ways, the author writes, is to put the person in a scanner and play them a short Hitchcock movie Everyone normal reacts to movies in the same way at the same time When a gunshot is fired, one part of the brain of everyone watching reacts A kiss, and it s another part, and so on So if the person in the scanner is played the movie and reacts that way, they must be able to see, hear and follow the action That s very far from being in a vegetative state.Choices In the book, the author says that the patient is given two choices, since we are Goodreaders, let s say, we are asked, Do you like the book that is being read to you For yes, imagine a tennis match, for no, think of walking through your home Again, different areas of the brain light up as the ones doing the thinking needoxygen,fuel, and the scanner identifies.The next question is, obviously, would you want to live like this The answer surprisingly was 72% of patients said, Yes Life is precious Maybe having people coming and talk to you, read you the papers, read good books, play films is enough For some that were breathing on their own, they were wheeled out and taken home for the weekend, or to the movies I can envisage that for the very rich, they could have their own scanners as well as nursing support at home, and their day could be planned according to their wishes and abilities.So consider this and talk about ir, let your family know what they should do, should such a tragedy befall you Tell them about this and ask them what they would want.Obviously a 10 star book._____________________Notes on reading This is immensely interesting It is so far the history and development of how scanners, from radio active to MRI s have been used to detect brain activity in certain parts of the brain in people who have been judged vegetative after strokes or accidents resulting in brain injury I found it fascinating that a sentence as simple as he fed her cat food would need to be analysed Did he feed a cat, or did he feed a girl or woman We use context to know the answer If he or a friend didn t have a cat , then there was a female with very strange tastes in food, or else was being given it forcibly A computer couldn t know what the sentence meant because it wouldn t know who if anyone owned a cat But the brain can work it out using prior knowledge, context and likelihood Different parts of the brain are used than those for a simple sentence that requires no interpretation, he fed the cat Whiskas This parsing of meaning couldn t be done by someone without consciousness, they would have to think about the sentence, and different parts of the brain would be put to work consumingoxygen as they did so, which could be detected by the MRI scanner Ergo, the body might be vegetative but the mind was certainly not And that was just the start


  2. Darlene Darlene says:

    This book, Into the Gray Zone A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death by Adrian Owen piqued my interest because I have thought a great deal about just what it means to be conscious Every now and then, we see stories in the media of people who have been in a vegetative state for years The case of Terri Schiavo comes to mind immediately, mainly because of the very public legal battle which took place I can t help but consider and attempt to imagine what being in that state This book, Into the Gray Zone A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death by Adrian Owen piqued my interest because I have thought a great deal about just what it means to be conscious Every now and then, we see stories in the media of people who have been in a vegetative state for years The case of Terri Schiavo comes to mind immediately, mainly because of the very public legal battle which took place I can t help but consider and attempt to imagine what being in that state feels like What DOES it mean to be conscious In its simplest definition, consciousness is described as having an awareness and being able to feel and think In this fascinating book, Adrien Owen, through his incredible research, inspires readers to examine what it means to be conscious and whites the difference between a brain and a mind His research with patients in a vegetative state raises questions about our widely held definition of consciousness Adrian Owen is a neuroscientist who has been working for decades with patients who have been described as being in a vegetative state or non responsive due to brain injuries or degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer s What he believes he has discovered is not without controversy nevertheless, through his research and experimentation, he has found that in about 20% of cases the patients are actually in a space between full consciousness and brain death. a space he calls the gray zone These patients often seem oblivious to the world around them and are viewed by medical professionals as being incapable of thought Dr Owen strongly disagrees He believes that their intact minds are adrift deep within damaged brains and bodies And he set out to prove just thatThis book is not at all daunting to read It is not filled with medical jargon or written in the language of a professional journal article And lest you think that Dr Owen writes only of his successes, he also documents his frustrations and failures Through years of trial and error and with the fortunate advancement in technology, Dr Owen pioneered a new technique using fMRI machines functional magnetic resonance imaging to attempt to assess brain function To help the reader understand exactly how the process worked, he presented a number of case studies Initially, he pulled together a control group of healthy people and came up with an interesting way to elicit the same responses in the brains of all of his subjects He needed something which would light up the same areas in all brains being tested He and his team brainstormed and they thought of two scenarios in the first scenario, the subjects were asked to think about and imagine playing the game of tennis Using the fMRI, Dr Owen was able to see that when his subjects thought about playing tennis, the part of the brain which is situated near the top of the head which is known as the premotor cortex lit up every time The second scenario he used with his healthy subjects was to ask them to imagine or visualize themselves walking through their homes This time, the part of the brain associated with spacial memory lit up in each subject.Taking the information he collected using his healthy subjects, Dr Owen was prepared to attempt the experiment with patients in a vegetative state Dr Owen needed to be able to demonstrate that just as in healthy people, he could use the fMRI machine on damaged brains to catch them in the act of making a willful decision A number of his patient case studies have stuck in my mind The first patient he tried the technique on was named Carol Carol was a 23 year old woman who had been hit by two cars as she attempted to cross a busy street and while she was distracted by her cellphone She had been in a vegetative state for months Placing her under the scanner, Dr Owen asked her to imagine she was playing tennis He then asked her to imagine she was walking around her home and to his surprise and delight, the premotor cortex and the spatial memory parts of her brain lit up just as they had in his healthy subjects To carry the experiment one step further and in an attempt to communicate with a patient, Dr Owen and his team devised a list of questions to ask the patient and would instruct the patient to imagine playing the game of tennis to signal a yes response and to imagine walking through his hometown signal a no response Dr Owen attempted this experiment with a patient named Scott, a man who had been in a vegetative state for the 12 years since he had been involved in an automobile accident Scott was presented with clear yes or no questions Are you in any pain and Do any of your body parts hurt right now are examples of questions used in Scott s case Scott was instructed to imagine playing the game of tennis if his answer was yes and to imagine walking through his home if his answer was no The spatial memory part of Scott s brain lit up , signaling to Dr Owen that he was not in any pain Are these successful experiments proof that a gray zone does exist in some patients who have been considered non responsive by the medical community I found the case studies presented in this book to be exciting and promising but Dr Owen has been criticized by others in his field Some of his detractors believe he is reading too much into the data he has collected and is providing false hope to patients and families who have already been traumatized Dr Owen believes that at the very least, his findings have encouraged doctors, nurse and family members to view these patients withempathy and this empathy may increase the likelihood of a partial recovery I personally feel this breakthrough his exciting But I also have to admit that the case studies provided were also disturbing to me For so long, medical professionals have believed that they could say, with a degree of certainty, that patients in a vegetative state were not conscious or aware of their surroundings Dr Owen s research makes it clear that thinking of these patients as unresponsive is far from certain in at least 20% of the cases As I often do when reading these types of books, I attempted to imagine how these patients must feel being essentially trapped inside of their own bodies That reminded me of the age old fear of being buried alive. and that s an awful thought I also feel that Dr Owen s research presents moral, ethical and legal challenges and because of this, society will be forced to try to answer some very difficult and important questions what makes a life valuable or worth living What IS the difference between a brain and a mind And what does it mean to be conscious Plenty of food for thought


  3. Cheryl Cheryl says:

    Adrian Owen is a world renowned neuroscientist who has conducted research involving cognitive abilities in people with traumatic brain injuries In his newly published book, Into the Gray Zone, Owen writes about the cutting edge procedures he and his colleagues have developed in order to try to establish whether or not patients who have been diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state are, in fact, cognizant of their surroundings.Although some parts of the book are difficult to comprehen Adrian Owen is a world renowned neuroscientist who has conducted research involving cognitive abilities in people with traumatic brain injuries In his newly published book, Into the Gray Zone, Owen writes about the cutting edge procedures he and his colleagues have developed in order to try to establish whether or not patients who have been diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state are, in fact, cognizant of their surroundings.Although some parts of the book are difficult to comprehend, Owen successfully explains in layman s terms, how the injuries sustained by patients impact various parts of the brain, and what long term consequences they produce.Each chapter details the experiences Owen has encountered while working with specific patients and their families Each person experienced a sudden, unexpected brain injury that left them trapped inside their body with no way to communicate their thoughts The damage sustained by their brains has placed them in the gray zone somewhere between life and death Each story is heartbreaking Yet Adrian Owen is optimistic that advances in brain research and technology will someday provide better outcomes for people with traumatic brain injuries.I would give this bookstars if I could It is one of the most interesting and informative books I have ever read Thank goodness for these intelligent, dedicated researchers whose goal is to help people when others have simply given up on them I was moved by Adrian Owen s comment about his research Beyond the elegant experiments and dazzling technology, the heart of gray zone science is about finding people who have been lost to us and reconnecting them with the people they love and who love them Each contact still feels like a miracle..What began as a scientific journeythan twenty years ago, a quest to unlock the mysteries of the human brain, evolved over time into a different kind of journey altogether a quest to pull people out of the void, to ferry them back from the gray zone, so they can once again take their place among us in the land of the living


  4. Sandie Sandie says:

    It is so rare that a book comes along that sparks my interest and intellect such that it is like this one I have found myself quoting parts to friends, taking pics of pages and sending them off, and pondering who I will bless with a copy The book is so accessible and is presented very well, interspersed with enough human examples to make it hard to put down such a well worn phrase but certainly applies in this case The author is also clearly empathetic to the plight of his experimental It is so rare that a book comes along that sparks my interest and intellect such that it is like this one I have found myself quoting parts to friends, taking pics of pages and sending them off, and pondering who I will bless with a copy The book is so accessible and is presented very well, interspersed with enough human examples to make it hard to put down such a well worn phrase but certainly applies in this case The author is also clearly empathetic to the plight of his experimental subjects and the families who believe in their loved ones consciousness and responsiveness despite evidence to the contrary I am sure that part of my intrigue is that I worked freshly out of college and many years ago in a brain injury rehabilitation center, doing both therapy and admission work If the current technology had been available, what a difference it would have made in many lives and given answers and peace to tortured families We saw very little miraculous recoveries but yet the hope of family members was inspiring and devastating at the same time Using the methods of communication that Owen presents, what are the ethics of using the results to determine admission to a very expensive rehab center to improve odds of serving only those with potential An interesting thought


  5. Jeanette Jeanette says:

    This book is well worth the read The author cleverly tells his own progressive career path and life story, surprisingly revealing much about himself and his feelings beyond the science.And the science is interesting and the brain scanning for those who are deemed or may be in the gray zone the core of what this book describes The neuroscience of the operating brain and especially within those who are in coma, unconscious and all the intermittent layers of possible in between and scaled for This book is well worth the read The author cleverly tells his own progressive career path and life story, surprisingly revealing much about himself and his feelings beyond the science.And the science is interesting and the brain scanning for those who are deemed or may be in the gray zone the core of what this book describes The neuroscience of the operating brain and especially within those who are in coma, unconscious and all the intermittent layers of possible in between and scaled for activity It s scary and absolutely ominous that in the past, like in burial habits that there has been strong assumptions upon those with no reactions as being close to death or unaware, which have been entirely wrong He gets into tangents of history and specific cases which were very illustrative Perhaps I wanted to hearabout possible optimum treatment Regardless, it has made me think about powers of attorney to a greater degree that the one I hold have And also when around the unconscious and non responsive I would and will always talk to them by name and declare in each detail exactly what where and how touch or sound or involvement is occurring The mapping of the brain as this author surveys consistently that is very difficult work He explains the white matter well here Better than most in his field for sure But I would have likedabout the scanning maps and less about his constantly moving and job tenure traveling details The last sections which contained his thought summations upon the possible future in this field 2 stars


  6. Bonnye Reed Bonnye Reed says:

    GNab I received a free electronic copy of this book from Netgalley, Adrian Owen, and Scribner in exchange for an honest review Thank you all, for sharing your hard work with me.Adrian Owen outlines and details his work with patients suffering neurological damage due to accident or illness over the last 29 years, the equipment and processes used to recognize consciousness in those persons diagnosed as being in a vegetative state This was a hard book to read In our world we get used to happily GNab I received a free electronic copy of this book from Netgalley, Adrian Owen, and Scribner in exchange for an honest review Thank you all, for sharing your hard work with me.Adrian Owen outlines and details his work with patients suffering neurological damage due to accident or illness over the last 29 years, the equipment and processes used to recognize consciousness in those persons diagnosed as being in a vegetative state This was a hard book to read In our world we get used to happily ever after We see it in our books and our films, those adult fairy tales that carry the day Every inch of progress made in neuroscience was hard fought on several fronts general perception, funding, equipment But these scientists have climbed those unknown mountains, and found many positives for those suffering injury, Parkinson s or Alzheimers, and found new ways to communicate with people in the Grey Zone What a wonderful breakthrough pub date June 20, 2017Scribner


  7. Caidyn (BW Reviews; he/him/his) Caidyn (BW Reviews; he/him/his) says:

    This review and others can be found on BW Book Reviews.The gray zone A thing that no one has really heard of but everyone would know once they hear me say vegetative state That s what the gray zone is People who are somewhat responsive or completely non responsive to the world around them It s something most people are familiar with, the topic that sparks so many debates about the right to life or the right to die with dignity It s a really hot topic.Adrian Owen is a neuroscientist whose This review and others can be found on BW Book Reviews.The gray zone A thing that no one has really heard of but everyone would know once they hear me say vegetative state That s what the gray zone is People who are somewhat responsive or completely non responsive to the world around them It s something most people are familiar with, the topic that sparks so many debates about the right to life or the right to die with dignity It s a really hot topic.Adrian Owen is a neuroscientist whose research focuses on the people in the gray zone Mainly, his research focuses on how to bring people out and how to know whether people are conscious of what s going around It s a huge topic Do these people know what s going on or are they completely gone Dr Owen takes this topic, his whole life s research, and tries to condense it into something that s understandable.The only experience I have with consciousness is a very short lecture that a classmate did for an honor s project in my behavioral neuroscience course Everything went above my head Consciousness is a difficult concept since it takes multiple forms We can be aware of our surroundings, but we may not understand ourselves or be able to introspect Emotions may not show consciousness since dogs show emotions, yet do they have the power to introspect or form complex mental maps of words, topics, or relationships.Dr Owen explains all things related to consciousness perfectly He makes it easy despite having the ability to go way above everyone s heads to reach academics who, like him, spend their lives researching it He s come into contact with doctors, psychologists, fellow neuroscientists, and philosophers.This conversation has touched most people in some way Having to make a choice about a relative or a friend doing the same Debating something like this in a class However, this book gives a very unique spin on it by looking at his research that examined people who came out of the gray zone and recovered their abilities While this book is definitely specialized and I read it because I find psychological topics fascinating and I m half tempted to suggest it to my advisor since he loves biological psychology it s incredibly accessible You don t have to have any past knowledge on this to enjoy it


  8. Laurie& Laurie& says:

    Admittedly, non fiction books about anything medical seem to be a siren song for me I find them boundless fascinating Having read and loved Being Mortal, The Remedy, and My Own Country, I was immediately drawn to this one Adrian Owen, a neuroscientist, embarked into a career to explore, learn, and hopefully discover what occurs in a patient s brain when diagnosed as being in a vegetative state Throughout the book, he intersperses real life patient stories, discussions of his own personal l Admittedly, non fiction books about anything medical seem to be a siren song for me I find them boundless fascinating Having read and loved Being Mortal, The Remedy, and My Own Country, I was immediately drawn to this one Adrian Owen, a neuroscientist, embarked into a career to explore, learn, and hopefully discover what occurs in a patient s brain when diagnosed as being in a vegetative state Throughout the book, he intersperses real life patient stories, discussions of his own personal life and experiences with the medical world, as well as the head injury of the woman he once loved I found his patient stories the most fascinating, with many wow moments asandof the gray zone was opened up to Owens and his fellow scientists, as both technology and learning progress continued to expand At times, the medical ese stumped me and got a bit dry, but Owens was able to jump back into a narrative pace that helped bring the story alive to someone like me, fascinated with medicine but a complete dunce when it comes to the science of it all For those people who are impacted by a brain trauma, who work with children or adults with brain injuries, or for those other people like me who are just suckers for a good medical mystery, this book is a great choice


  9. Patricia Patricia says:

    Into the Gray Zone by Adrian Owen is about his journey as a neuroscientist looking for indications of consciousness in patients typically diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state, the gray zone The book step wise takes us along for the ride, as Dr Owen works with increasingly better technology, and then works with his research team and colleagues to use that technology in a smarter and smarter way, since time analyzing gray zone patients is precious inways than one We also Into the Gray Zone by Adrian Owen is about his journey as a neuroscientist looking for indications of consciousness in patients typically diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state, the gray zone The book step wise takes us along for the ride, as Dr Owen works with increasingly better technology, and then works with his research team and colleagues to use that technology in a smarter and smarter way, since time analyzing gray zone patients is precious inways than one We also get to know the patients and importantly their loved ones The book tackles questions such as What is consciousness , How and when does consciousness arise , and How can you possibly recognize consciousness in a patient in the gray zone The book also addresses how communication might be established if consciousness is discovered The story is well constructed and also leaves the reader pondering even bigger questions such as the impact to society of direct brain computer communication technology potentially being commonly used in the future A great read


  10. Laura Laura says:

    An incredibly detailed and fascinating insight into the world of patients in vegetative states of mind and how the author and a team of specialists seemingly discovered a way to communicate with them The idea that vegetative patients experience a degree of consciousness is remarkable it helps that this book was very well written with the non medic in mind.The area of neuropsychiatric care is massive and seems to go on forever The author gives thorough consideration to readers unfamiliar with An incredibly detailed and fascinating insight into the world of patients in vegetative states of mind and how the author and a team of specialists seemingly discovered a way to communicate with them The idea that vegetative patients experience a degree of consciousness is remarkable it helps that this book was very well written with the non medic in mind.The area of neuropsychiatric care is massive and seems to go on forever The author gives thorough consideration to readers unfamiliar with biology and the wider sciences and of course for every theory, test and scan there is a patient story behind it There are some really intriguing stories to be told here and I m sure there were manythe author couldn t fit in to his book.A must read for those interested in psychology, psychiatry and the neurosciences


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Into the Gray Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death [Read] ➵ Into the Gray Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death ➱ Adrian Owen – Thomashillier.co.uk The author, a world renowned neuroscientist reveals his controversial, groundbreaking work with patients whose brains were previously thought vegetative or non responsive but turn out in up to percen The author, Gray Zone: MOBI ñ a world renowned neuroscientist reveals his controversial, groundbreaking work with patients whose brains were previously thought vegetative or non responsive but turn out in up topercent of cases to be vibrantly alive, existing in the Gray Zone between full consciousness and brain death People in this middle place have sustained traumatic brain Into the PDF \ injuries or are the victims of stroke or degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer s and Parkinson s Many are oblivious to the outside world, and their doctors believe they are incapable of thought But a sizeable number are experiencing something different intact minds adrift deep within damaged brains and bodies Following Owen s journey of the Gray Zone: MOBI · exciting medical discovery, Into the Gray Zone asks some tough and terrifying questions, such as What is life like for these patients What can their families and friends do to help them What are the ethical implications for religious organizations, politicians, the Right to Die movement, and even insurers And perhaps most intriguing of all in defining what a life worth living is, are we too concerned with the physical and not giving enough emphasis to the power of thought What, truly, defines a satisfying life.