Can you realize the agony of a conscious person who lies helplessly on the bed unable to communicate feelings? Let’s ask you another question; do you think the size of the pupil, in a paralyzed person, matters? Latest news reports confirm communication with a paralyzed person may become possible by staring into their eyes!

They can communicate, say researchers

Scientists at Philipps-Universitat Marburg in Germany have discovered that completely paralyzed people may be able to communicate now. They say that communication is possible by looking into the eyes of a paralyzed person. Patients who could never pass a message may be able to answer yes and no questions with the help of a simple system that will measure the pupil size.

Locked-in syndrome

Have you heard about people suffering from the “Locked-in syndrome”? These people are fully conscious, unable to communicate because they are paralyzed. Many people having Locked-in syndrome have no control on the blinking of their eyes and it becomes impossible to communicate.

The research experiment details

The experiment was carried out on about 7 patients suffering from the Locked-in syndrome. The patients had faced strokes and ended up with brain damage. The pupil size was studied to determine the responses of the paralytic patients to the same kinds of questions.

Researchers made use of a camera or a laptop to measure the change in the size of the pupil “that happen automatically when someone does mental arithmetic,” confirmed the researchers.

The scientists found out that the patients responded to question by showing a dilation of pupils. The pupil size reflected the effort the patient made mentally as they pondered over the answer.

The details rendered by the researchers show that they roped in some healthy people to show their brain power for the study first. The subjects of the study who were healthy were made to answer a simple yes or no as they were given a math problem to solve along side.

The calculation required in the math problem put a strain on the people’s mental ability and led to an increase in the pupil size. This size of the pupil could be measured and was translated by the researchers as a correct response to direct questions.

Wolfgang Einhäuser of Philipps-Universität Marburg in Germany, the lead researcher “We find it remarkable that the system worked almost perfectly in all healthy observers and then could be transferred directly from them to the patients, with no need for training or parameter adjustment.”

The head of the study further stated “For patients with altered state of consciousness—those who are in a coma or other unresponsive state—any communication is a big step forward.”

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