Into the Gray Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death by Adrian OwenInto the Gray Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death by Adrian Owen

Into the Gray Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death

byAdrian Owen

Hardcover | June 20, 2017

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In this startling and thought-provoking book, which will remind readers of works by Oliver Sacks and Atul Gawande, a world-renowned neuroscientist 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.

Following Owen’s journey of exciting medical discovery, Into the Gray Zone asks some tough and terrifying questions, such as: What is life like for these patients? What can their families and friends do to help them? What are the ethical implications for religious organizations, politicians, the Right to Die movement, and even insurers? And perhaps most intriguing of all: in defining what a life worth living is, are we too concerned with the physical and not giving enough emphasis to the power of thought? What, truly, defines a satisfying life?

This book is about the difference between a brain and a mind, a body and a person. It is about what these fascinating borderlands between life and death have taught us about being human.
Title:Into the Gray Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and DeathFormat:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:June 20, 2017Publisher:ScribnerLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1501135201

ISBN - 13:9781501135200


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worth Reading I was expecting this book to be harder to read, I was pleasantly mistaken. I found it very interesting and easy to read. It certainly makes you think. It's fascinating how far science and technology have come and how much farther it's likely to come in even a few years. The idea of communicating with people in vegetative states is wonderful. I would definitely recommend reading it.
Date published: 2017-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from interesting Adrian Owen, a neuroscientist, has spent 20 years studying persistent vegetative states and the meaning of consciousness. In that time he and his team have made astounding breakthroughs, proving that some people in comas are actually conscious inside their inert bodies. This is the “Gray Zone”, that elusive boundary between life and death, the place where scientists try to distinguish between a brain and a mind, between a body and a person. The difficult process of designing experiments to prove – or disprove – Owen’s theories of consciousness leads to a compelling detective story which includes ethics committees, lab assistants, post-docs, graduate students and the amazing patients themselves. These investigations are woven around Owen’s own changing philosophy about the purpose and meaning of his professional work: is it to further the abstract interests of science for the greater good, or to actually try to help individual patients? Into the Gray Zone is an engaging and lively look at the changing landscape of how consciousness is defined, evolving imaging techniques, and the author’s personal journey as he explores his conflicted but not necessarily mutually exclusive theories.
Date published: 2017-08-07

Editorial Reviews

"Captivating . . . In this book, which will bring new hope to many, we see Owen explore new realms of consciousness—ones experienced by patients who are devastated by brain injury yet surprisingly endowed with thought, feeling, and memory."
—Kevin Nelson, author of The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain: A Neurologist's Search for the God Experience