Was TOO Locked-In Syndrome!

This entry was posted by Thursday, 26 November, 2009
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Looks Like A Finger. Could Be A Neuron.

Looks Like A Finger. Could Be A Neuron.

Neurology: A Case Of Facilitated Communication

Rom Houben was nearly killed in an accident 23 years ago.


Couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, couldn’t wiggle a finger.

They figured he was in a type of coma, a persistent vegetative state. But he wasn’t.

He could think. And he could hear. And he could listen to visitors as they walked around his bedside, discussing the fact that his brain was ruined.

Drove him nuts.

Until a miracle came along.

New technology was applied to his case and it was discovered that he had a mental life. And more new technology gave him a way to communicate.

And communicate, he did, going on to explain, with unexpected eloquence, the frustration and angst of being locked inside a body that had no means to tell the world “I am HERE!”. An inspiring and wonderful story.

Except some people don’t believe it.

Steven Novella’s a neurologist. And he’s also an excellent blogger. Don’t worry, nobody’s as good as MISTER ScienceAintSoBad. But Dr. Novella’s pretty darn good AND he’s a Doc.

Here’s his reaction.

On the other hand Steven laureys, Mr. Houben’s neurologist, is aware of the skepticism and he says he did some tests to show that the communications are not fraudulent.

Certainly, everyone has an agenda. As Dr. House likes to say, “Everyone lies.”

MISTER ScienceAintSoBad doesn’t think this is a case of pseudoscience. Everyone seems well intentioned and sincere. And Science Ain’t So Bad wishes Rom Houben a complete recovery, no matter what the odds, and congratulates him on having such a devoted family.

I will give Dr. Novella a ScienceAintSoBadRating = 8 for asking the right questions and trying so hard to be fair. But the controversy isn’t over.

3 Responses to “Was TOO Locked-In Syndrome!”

  1. Sheila Lev-Tov

    It occurred to me, as well, that Rom Houben is now saying, falsely, (though he may believe it) that he was fully aware all these many years, but unable to communicate until now. What worries me is that the nut-cases over on the religious right will take this case and run with it. They can now say about Terry Schaivo (sp?): “See! We told you so!”

    If you want to see an interesting movie about locked-in syndrome, get ahold of the French film, “The Diving Bell & the Butterfly.”

  2. I’ve been looking all over for this!


  3. Just wanted to let you know that it’s not showing up properly on the BlackBerry Browser (I have a Pearl). Anyway, I’m now on the RSS feed on my laptop, so thanks!

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