Karen Quinlan

HARRY R. ERWIN herwin at mason1.gmu.edu
Mon Jul 11 13:55:34 EST 1994

Gregory S Berns (berns+ at pitt.edu) wrote:
: In article <2vk8u8$9l6 at portal.gmu.edu> herwin at mason1.gmu.edu (HARRY R. ERWIN) writes:
: >They did an autopsy on Karen Ann Quinlan's brain to see if they could
: >learn anything about her persistant vegetative state. It turns out her
: >thalamus had been extensively lesioned, thus turning off sensory input
: >other than from the olfactory system. She may well have been conscious
: >until she died.

: ...
: The lesions support the idea that a crucial part of consciousness is
: arousal.  The thalamic lesions probably damaged her arousal system
: and therefore she was not conscious.

The sensory pathways are still functional when about 80% lesioned. I 
don't know how much damage the arousal system can tolerate.

Harry Erwin
Internet: herwin at gmu.edu 
Just a dumb engineer working on Katchalsky nets....

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