Tests show 'significant' brain activity in former Israeli PM


Officials at Beersheba’s Soroka hospital have reported “significant” brain activity during tests performed on former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a vegetative state since 2007.

According to medical officials, this activity was detected during a number of MRI scans and in the “matching” areas of the brain.

During the two-hour MRI scan conducted last Thursday, researchers tested Mr Sharon’s response to various stimuli: family pictures, a recording of his son Gilad’s voice, and human touch.

The tests’ findings showed “significant” activity. Additional tests were performed to determine the patient’s awareness to his surroundings, but they did not give a clear indication that he was in fact aware of his surroundings.

Sharon’s former aide, Raanan Gissin, said the brain scans appeared to give a glimmer of hope for some improvement in Mr Sharon’s condition.

“The test was routine but the results not entirely so,” he said. “There was some kind of positive indication.”

Mr Sharon (84) was rushed to Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital after suffering a massive stroke on January 4th, 2006. He did not regain consciousness. In May 2007 he was transferred to the Tel Aviv’s Tel Hashomer hospital, where he has since been under constant guard.

In November 2010 he was temporarily transferred to the family farm in the southern Negev desert at the request of his family, but was eventually returned to the Tel Hashomer hospital where he remained in a serious but stable condition.

Soroka officials said he has never been diagnosed as being in a coma and that his diagnosis has been determined as “minimal conscious level”.

Medical officials cautioned that the results of last week’s tests did not mean Mr Sharon was about to wake up.