I haven’t had time to read everything yet, but I have been anxiously awaiting this research’s release date ever since a friend at Weill Cornell tipped me off to the project. Here is the essence, and then a link that will take you to several different Nature pieces, depending on how deep you want to get in to it, from a news piece to the actual paper:
In the latest case study, neuroscientists describe how they implanted electrodes in the brain of a 38-year-old man who had been in a minimally conscious state for more than six years following a serious assault. By electrically stimulating a brain region called the central thalamus, they were able to help him name objects on request, make precise hand gestures, and chew food without the aid of a feeding tube. The thalamus is involved in motor control, arousal and in relaying sensory signals — from the visual systems, for example — to the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain involved in consciousness.