Ten days ago, a team of French researchers announced that y had re-established a "minimal state of consciousness" in a 35-year-old young man who had been plunged for 15 years in a "vegetative state" after a road accident. They had succeeded in stimulating a cranial nerve, connecting brain to viscera, using a kind of cerebral pacemaker.
Their article in Current Biology was n taken up and commented on in whole world. Questioned by Figaro on condition of patient and evolution of his condition, researcher who conducted this research, Angela Sirigu, director of Institute of Cognitive Sciences Marc Jeannerod, omitted n knowingly a slight detail: death of patients This summer, before publication of ir work.
It was Professor Marc Gold, neurosurgeon at civil hospices in Lyon, one of doctors who participated in installation of electrode stimulatory, which revealed information in a fortuitous way during an interview given to Parisian a few days more Later. He n clarified that young man died of a "pulmonary complication" without connection to electrical stimulation.An awkward silence
Even so, silence of researchers in ir publication or in ir interviews with press is problematic. Such a sensational announcement requires a minimum of transparency. At time of commenting on telephone patient's condition, Angela Sirigu suggested that it might be possible to re-establish a form of communication with patient and that thing was now under responsibility of medical team ...
"We discussed this with family," says Professor Jacques Luau in world, who has been following patient in his neurological rehabilitation service for several years. "Toger, we mistakenly thought that this would lead to an amalgamation between stimulation and death." It came to conclusion that this death-unrelated to experiment-was an intimate family event. "It was a mistake, because it was obvious that we would be asked what this patient had become."
At time of death, patient was no longer under electrical stimulation. Started in January 2016, it was arrested in March 2017 after family found occurrence of sleep apnea, an adverse reaction already found in epileptic patients with same type of stimulator, details world. A lung infection would be cause of death. However, no autopsy was performed.