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British researcher Adrian Owen has pioneered a new way to communicate with seemingly unconscious patients

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Brain images from a patient who was deemed vegetative but was able to imagine playing tennis would be great, especially compared to a healthy control. She isn't answering questions, but merely showing that she is conscious by producing the two brain states when asked to imagine playing tennis and imagine moving from room to room in her house. Again, a control is included for comparison.

Adrian Owen/MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit

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Brain images from a patient who was deemed vegetative but was able to imagine playing tennis would be great, especially compared to a healthy control. She isn't answering questions, but merely showing that she is conscious by producing the two brain states when asked to imagine playing tennis and imagine moving from room to room in her house.

Adrian Owen/MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit

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University of Western Ontario (UWO) professor Fred Possmayer plays tennis at the university's tennis centre October 27, 2010. Professor Possmayer has recovered after suffering a heart attack and falling into a coma while playing. While in the coma he was part of a research study by world renowned brain researcher Dr. Adrian Owen who will shortly be taking a position at UWO.

GEOFF ROBINS/Geoff Robins/The Globe and Mail

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Dr. Adrian Owen has spent the last 20 years pioneering breakthroughs in cognitive neuroscience.

University of Western

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Brain researchers (from left) Beth Parkin MSC, Dr. Adrian Owen, and Dr. Damian Cruse. Dr. Owen and his team will be researching recorded electrical impulses in the brain of comatose people showing they are actually aware and can respond by thinking of things.

Randy Quan/randy quan The Globe and Mail

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