Facilitated Communication With Coma Man Bogus?
Facilitated communication is a ten dollar expression referring to the ways that an aide might help a disabled person communicate. A story circulating on the 'net involving a man who has been in a coma for 23 years successfully communicating via facilitated communication seems to be a false report.
Rom Houben, 46, has been in a coma since a car accident 23 years ago. Doctors believed that he was "locked in" - conscious but paralyzed and unable to communicate in any way. Therapists noted that he seemed to respond to nearby communication.
Mrs Wouters, 42, was assigned to Mr Houben and they began to learn the communication technique that he is now using to write a book about his life and thoughts. “I thought it was a miracle — it actually worked,” she said.
The method involves taking Mr Houben by the elbow and the right hand while he is seated at a specially adapted computer and feeling for minute twitches in his forefinger as his hand is guided over the letters of the alphabet. Mrs Wouters said that she could feel him recoil slightly if the letter was wrong. After three years of practice the words now come tumbling out, she said.
(From Times Online)
Many people are skeptical, including former stage magician and expert at debunking odd claims James Randi, who during the 1990s investigated the use of facilitated communication for autistic children. When shown a video of the facilitated communication method, Randi remarks "You see this woman who's not only holding his hand, but what she's doing is directing his fingers and looking directly at the keyboard. She's pressing down on the keyboard, pressing messages for him. He has nothing to do with it."
The James Randi Educational Foundation has offered a million-dollar prize for a valid demonstration of facilitated communication - and still has the prize.
Obviously, this is a tragic circumstance for Mr. Houben and his family and caregivers. While this is obviously not a science fictional prediction, I'm strongly reminded of the technology used in Ubik. In this exceptional 1969 novel, Philip K. Dick constructs a remarkable method for facilitating communication with those who are actually dead. Follow the links to learn more about the protophason amplifier that allows loved ones to communicate with the recently deceased who have been placed in cold pac.
From Times Online and BoingBoing.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/25/2009)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )
Related News Stories -
Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.' - James Blish, 1957.
Medical Tattoos Are STILL Being Researched
'Following the current craze, she has had a subdermal pattern of micro-channels implanted.'
Rise Of Skywalker Could Trigger Epileptic Seizures
'... then the screen started to flicker. I stared at it for a while.' - John Varley, 1984.
Injectable Magnetic Fluid Slows Bleeding, Aids Magneto
'There's something different about you.'
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
I Want My 1928 Telestereo Hologram Now
'Instantly there appeared standing upon the disk, the image of a man...'
Memes Now Come From Neural Nets
'Your order said for him to be able to be able to work out twists on the gags in the file...'
Robot Dog Learns To Be Doggy From Real Dogs
'So we took pictures of Guzub making a Three Planets, and I could construct this one to do it exactly right down to the thousandth of a second.'
Unwanted Cruise Ships Huddle Together Out At Sea
'On the screen they passed in an endless, boundaryless flood of green specks...'
Sono Sion Electric Car Charges As You Drive
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'
News Mood Filter Web Extension
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'
Fetal Lamb Rests In Artificial Womb
'... stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones, the foetuses grew and grew...'
MIT Wants To Catch Interstellar Visitors
'INVESTIGATE MYSTERIOUS OBJECT ENTERING NEW CALEDONIA SYSTEM FROM NORMAL SPACE'
AutoX Sets Up Asia's Largest Robotaxi Center
'The robot cab seemed to know where it was going and, no doubt, the master machine from which it received its signals knew.'
E - Ink's Automatic Self Styling Color-Changing Dress
'The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools.'
Soft Robots Use Kirigami Piezoelectric Sensor Skin
'A worthy opponent was the golem.'
Bosch Smartglasses Laser Paints AR Image On Your Retina
'Soon we'll be testing a system that projects directly on the retina of the eye.'
Maybe We Could Hibernate Until The Covid-19 Pandemic's End
'Cold-rest was a common last resort therapy for functional psychoses.'
Workplace Monitoring Hell, I Mean, Tool For Safe Distancing
'And here is the weirdest part -- I never see another employee the entire day.'
Patent Office Says AIs Cannot Be Inventors
'The real smart ones are as smart as the Turing heat is willing to let 'em get.'
Starlink Orbital Network Like Coruscant Traffic Jam
Vermin of the Sky? Or Internet access for all?
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories