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Publisher's Summary

In this startling and thought-provoking book, which will remind listeners 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 nonresponsive but turn out - in up to 20 percent of cases - to be vibrantly alive, existing in the "gray zone".

Into the Gray Zone takes listeners 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.

©2017 Adrian Owen, PhD. All rights reserved (P)2017 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved

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Thought provoking

loved this book, amazing and interesting documentary into something we don't often contemplate unless we ourselves are affected by this trauma. you will have a different outlook on the value of life when you finish this book. I guarantee it

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Beautiful!

Truly a beautiful story that brings a unique aspect of neuroscience to the table. Also, Steve West’s narration was incredible as well as it brings this story to life!

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A narrative of discovery

More narrative and less science exposition than I was expecting; slow-paced at times as the author tends to belabor some points; but still compelling and interesting. Changed my mind on how I'd like to be treated if I am ever comatose or vegetative!

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intriguing

The author brought to light new information, for myself, that was extremely enlightening. highly recommend to my friends and family.