You’ve heard that heart-rending story about the guy in Belgium who was diagnosed with a coma 23 years ago and who turned out just to be paralyzed? I’m sorry to report that he probably really isn’t conscious, and angry to report that we’ve all been hoaxed by a “facilitator”.
For those who may need further evidence for my contention, the proof can be found at http://tinyurl.com/ye9d9lp — where it is clearly seen that the “facilitator” is looking directly at the keyboard, while the subject is asleep! There can be no further doubt. This FC claim is simply untrue, a farce, a lie – and the “facilitator” knows it! And no, this man is not going to write a book, but the “facilitator” is, and if this humbug is not stopped, she’ll make a fortune doing so. Put a stop to this, someone!”
There’s more from Science Based Medicine.
Meanwhile, this case stands as a cautionary tale – mostly about the dangers of the media discussing the implications of a story before the facts have been verified. It may also be a rare case of misdiagnosed locked in syndrome. My best guess is that Dr. Laureys is correct about the preserved cortical activity, but he is simply not familiar with the phenomenon of FC (he did not sound familiar on the interview) and has been deceived by it. If this is so, then the FC is an unfortunate distraction from this case (and getting disproportionate attention from the media). I am already reading science bloggers comment on the fact that the video of Houben typing calls the whole case into question.