Coma Doc Checking Dozens of New Cases
Belgian searches for more victims of 'locked-in' syndrome
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2009 5:51 AM CST
Neurological expert Dr. Steven Laureys gestures as he talks with the media at the University Hospital in Liege, Belgium, yesterday.   (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)
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(Newser) – The Belgian neurologist who discovered that a patient thought to have been in a coma was actually conscious for 23 years has been checking dozens of other patients for signs of awareness. And he has discovered consciousness in some of the 50 patients he checks annually with his state-of-the-art equipment, Dr. Steven Laureys tells the Guardian.

None of the cases have been as extreme as that of Rom Houben, who was found to have a near-normal level of brain activity when he was checked with the higher-tech brain scan equipment. Houben's case has sparked calls for changes in the way brain injury patients are treated. "I expect that, in future, brain scans may become routine in the diagnosis of comatose patients," one researcher tells the Times of London.