Into The Gray Zone

Tuesday, 22 May, 2018
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In this startling and thought‐provoking talk, Owen reveals his controversial, groundbreaking work with patients whose brains were previously thought vegetative or non‐responsive but turn out—in up to 20 percent of cases—to be vibrantly alive, existing in the “Gray Zone.”

Into the Gray Zone takes readers to the edge of a dazzling, humbling frontier in our understanding of the brain: the so‐called “gray zone” between full consciousness and brain death. People in this middle place have sustained traumatic brain injuries or are the victims of stroke or degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Many are oblivious to the outside world, and their doctors believe they are incapable of thought. But a sizeable number are experiencing something different: intact minds adrift deep within damaged brains and bodies. An expert in the field, Adrian Owen led a team that, in 2006, discovered this lost population and made medical history. Scientists, physicians, and philosophers have only just begun to grapple with the implications.

Into The Gray Zone

Adrian Owen, PhD

Dr. Adrian Owen is a Professor at The Brain and Mind Institute, Western University, Canada and the former Canada Excellence Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging.

His research combines neuroimaging (MRI and EEG), with cognitive studies in brain-injured patients and healthy participants. His lab studies patients who have sustained brain injuries that result in disorders of consciousness. They also study patients with neurodegenerative diseases in order to understand more about the causes and consequences of the memory, perception and reasoning problems that many of them experience.

Dr. Owen also develops web-based tools for the assessment of cognitive function, both in healthy participants and in patients with disorders of the brain.

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