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But the British neuroscientist Prof Adrian Owen - who led the team at the Brain and Mind Institute, University of Western Ontario - said Mr Routley was clearly not vegetative.

This article is just another piece of science-sensationalism from the BBC.

You're implying that the headline talks about a vegetative patient but the article has an expert saying the patient isn't really vegetative?

Not fair. What the article alleges is that Scott Routley's state (1) would have been classed as "vegetative" according to previously standard criteria but (2) is shown not to be by the new MRI-based approach that Prof Owen's team is using.

In other words: that meeting the current diagnostic standards for vegetativeness (or whatever the right noun is) is, according to new work, consistent with being conscuious, self-aware and capable of communication given the right equipment.

If that's true, then the article isn't sensationalistic at all.

Of course it might not be true -- but if you want to convince readers that it's likely not to be, you'd better give some evidence that actually addresses the point, which your out-of-context quotation doesn't.

A more correct headline might have said, "Previously considered vegetative patient shows apparent consciousness"

That is what the headline says, in fewer words.

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