Terry Wallis

Terry Wallis

Terry Wallis (born 7 April, 1964) is an American man living in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas who on June 11, 2003 regained awareness after spending almost 20 years in a minimally conscious state.

Following a 1984 automobile accident, in which one of his friends died, he, then aged 19, fell into a coma that later stabilized into a minimally conscious state.

In 2003 he awakened from his minimal conscious state and began to talk, asking one of the staff in the nursing home who the woman in his room was. She told him that it was his mother. He believed that he was still 19 and that it was still the 1980s. His muscles remained weak as his family couldn't afford physiotherapy, but he gradually recovered over a three day "awakening period" in which he regained the ability to control some parts of his body and to speak to other individuals. However, he remains disabled from injuries suffered during the original accident, including the motor disorder dysarthria.

Wallis was the subject of the "BodyShock" special for 2005 "The Man Who Slept For 19 Years" made for Channel 4 in the UK [ [http://www.channel4.com/science/microsites/S/science/body/coma.html Body and Mind ] ] It shows his mother and daughter taking him to talk to neurologists to try to find out how Wallis had regained speech after such a long time. The program featured several well known doctors, including Dr. Caroline McCagg, the medical director of the JFK Center for head injury in New Jersey, Dr. Joe Giacino, a neuropsychologist who said his brain retained lots of information prior to 1984 but hardly any after 1984 because Wallis lost the ability to store new memories and was essentially amnestic, and Dr. Martin Gizzi, a neurologist who showed that, due to damage to the frontal lobes, he could not process experiences into memories. Also featured in the program was the neuropsychologist professor Roger Llewellyn Wood.

Using new technology, brain scans were done on Wallis by Nicholas Schiff of Cornell University. [ [http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn9474-rewired-brain-revives-patient-after-19-years.html 'Rewired brain' revives patient after 19 years] from New Scientist Accessed July 2006] The hypothesis built from the imaging studies is that Wallis's brain reconnected neurons which remained intact and formed new connections to circumvent damaged areas.

ee also

*Gary Dockery
*Persistent vegetative state


External links

* [http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/07/04/1212221 Patient Revives After 19 Years By Rewiring Brain] mini-article and discussion on Slashdot, July 2006
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/04/health/psychology/04coma.html Mute 19 Years, He Helps Reveal Brain's Mysteries] , article in The New York Times, July 2006
* [http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060703/full/060703-5.html 'Miracle recovery' shows brain's resilience] on Nature.com, July 2006
* [http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1475825 Terry Wallis, a modern Lazarus] on everything2.com, Updated in January 2004
* [http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/South/07/07/mute.no.more/index.html Man speaks after 19-year silence] , article on CNN, July 2003
* [http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.com/pdf/8109/8109e3.pdf Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Minimally Conscious State vs Persistent Vegetative State: The Case of Terry (Wallis) vs. The Case of Terri (Schiavo)]

* [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8914215854030737781&q=type%3Atvshow+charlie+rose A discussion about brain regeneration] , Video interview with researchers on the Charlie Rose Show, July 28, 2006

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