New Tests Measure Level of Consciousness (Scientific American)

Neuroscientist, psychiatrist, and expert on sleep and consciousness, Guilio Tononi, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been experimenting with a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) that delivers single bursts of high-speed magnetic energy to his subjects’ brains.

The varying electrical activity in the brain of subjects that are in a deep sleep or awake reveals patterns that indicate their disparate levels of consciousness. Further assessing these trends could help medical professionals better understand and treat patients in comas, vegetative states or even those under anesthesia.

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