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23 years of silence: Belgian man breaks through “coma” and communicates

“I screamed, but there was nothing to hear”: Man trapped in 23-year ‘coma’ reveals horror of being unable to tell doctors he was conscious

Conscious but unable to communicate for 23 years after a car accident that was thought to have put him into a deep coma, a quadriplegic Belgian

Rom said he wants to enjoy life again - now that his friends and family know he is not in a coma after all

man has described how medical science finally put an end to his agonizing years of silence.

Now able to make himself understood via a computer and specially built keyboard, the man, Rom Houben, said in the Monday issue of the German magazine Der Spiegel that when doctors made the correct diagnosis, it was like starting a second life.

“I shall never forget the day when they discovered what was truly wrong with me — it was my second birth,” Mr. Houben, now 46, was quoted as saying.

Mr. Houben, who was an engineering student at the time of the accident, lives in a care home near Brussels. He was assumed to be in a persistent vegetative state until three years ago, when the breakthrough was made.

In the interview he recalled the aftermath of the car accident that paralyzed him and the realization that no one understood that he was fully conscious.

“I screamed, but there was nothing to hear,” he said. He added that he then became a witness to his own suffering as doctors and nurses tried to speak with him until they gave up all hope.

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Web Surf to Save Your Aging Brain

Posted by Audiegrl

Seniors_computersHealthDay/Amanda Gardner—Surfing the Internet just might be a way to preserve your mental skills as you age.

Researchers found that older adults who started browsing the Web experienced improved brain function after only a few days.

You can teach an old brain new technology tricks,” said Dr. Gary Small, a psychiatry professor at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of iBrain. With people who had little Internet experience, “we found that after just a week of practice, there was a much greater extent of activity particularly in the areas of the brain that make decisions, the thinking brain — which makes sense because, when you’re searching online, you’re making a lot of decisions,” he said. “It’s interactive.”

Seniors_computersbSmall is co-author of the research, which was scheduled to be presented Monday in Chicago at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting.

This makes intuitive sense, that getting on the Internet and exploring and getting new information and learning would help,” said Paul Sanberg, director of the University of South Florida Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair in Tampa. “It supports the value of exploring the Internet for the elderly.”

Most experts now advocate a “use-it-or-lose-it” approach to mental functioning.

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