• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Israel's comatose ex-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon shows brain activity

Fformer Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is seen in this undated file photo.
January 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A massive and debilitating stroke more than seven years ago put former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in a coma. But cutting edge technology now shows Sharon has much more brain activity than anyone knew, according to doctors who conducted recent tests.

Experts describe it as significant brain activity, but caution recovery is still unlikely. This news is as important medically as it is historically and politically. Sharon was a dynamic leader when he was struck down by a massive stroke in 2006. He never regained consciousness and remained in a state billed as vegetative.

Many assumed there was no chance Sharon would ever wake up, but this latest report is both startling and positive. Using an advanced MRI, doctors had Sharon's son talk to him. They showed him pictures of his house and had a nurse touch his hand. In all three of the situations, Sharon's brain responded.

"The brain reacted to the external stimulation, which means that the information got into the brain and was analyzed or was processed within his brain," said Dr. Alon Friedman with the Soroka Medical Center.

It provides hope that the once great leader could recover. That's something his longtime friend Raanan Gissin says Sharon deserves.

"The people of Israel really feel a gratitude toward Sharon and they think he deserves to end his life like a normal person with the ability to talk and respond to what is happening now," said Gissin.

On a broader note, this story reminds us that we don't fully understand what's going on in the brains of people in a vegetative state or coma. Sharon's case certainly provides hope for other families in a similar situation.


Load Comments