Tag Archives: consciousness

Body consciousness

PARTS of Ann Arbor bring The Truman Show to mind, with their wood-frame houses and white picket fences. Home to the University of Michigan, the city oozes middle-class prosperity and security. So, while doing research there a decade ago, Sarah Garfinkel was shocked to discover that young veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan felt terrified even in Ann Arbor. “It broke my heart,” she says. And it changed the course of her career…

This article first appeared in New Scientist on 27 June 2020. To continue reading, click here (paywall).

Upside down world

ns_logoA MAN walks confidently towards an open gate but instead of going straight through he raises his knee very high as if he were stepping over a low wall. He strides forward, reaching out to shake a friend’s hand. But again he misjudges, and his friend draws back in alarm to avoid being punched in the nose…

This article was first published in New Scientist on 11 October 2014. To continue reading, click here (paywall).


Twilight zone

telegraphFacebookONE day in September 2005 Sarah Tomkins went to the top of the stairs to wave her daughter Caitlin off to the village school. Still in her pyjamas because she was feeling under the weather, she suddenly felt lightheaded. Before six-year-old Caitlin knew what was happening, her mother was lying at the bottom of the wooden staircase with blood on her face. Tomkins’s fall that day resulted in a massive haemorrhage that destroyed the front left-hand side of her brain. If it hadn’t been for quick-thinking Caitlin, who immediately phoned her grandmother, Tomkins would have died. As it was she spent three weeks in a coma before she opened her eyes. For the next couple of months doctors could elicit no response from her and diagnosed her as being in a vegetative state (VS). Then they began to see fleeting signs that she was aware of her surroundings. The diagnosis changed to minimally conscious state (MCS), and Tomkins was moved to a rehabilitation centre at Leamington Spa, where she came under the care of the neurological rehabilitation consultant Derar Badwan…

This article first appeared in the Telegraph Magazine on 22 March 2014. To continue reading click here.