Vegetative patient reacts to suspenseful Hitchcock film

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Vegetative Patient Reacts To Suspenseful Hitchcock Film

In Alfred Hitchcock's short "Bang! You're Dead," a boy holds a partially loaded gun, completely unaware of its capabilities. A group of Canadian researchers using the film in a study found that life has a way of imitating art. Researchers at the University of Western Ontario say they completely underestimated a patient's mental capabilities.

A 34-year old, who was believed to be in an unconscious vegetative state after suffering cardiac arrest 16 years ago, was shown the 1961 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' episode "Bang! You're Dead." While the episode was playing, the patient showed brain activity linked to suspense similar to those who were completely conscious.

Researchers hope their study will help identify which patients in vegetative states are conscious or unconscious, so that health care professionals can better communicate with them.

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