Into the Grey Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death by Adrian Owen - review by Adrian Woolfson

Adrian Woolfson

Raising Awareness

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

By

Guardian Faber Publishing 304pp £16.99 order from our bookshop
 

To date – perhaps fortunately – no evidence has emerged to suggest that we share the universe with other intelligent beings. But what of our inner mental space, teeming with private thoughts, images, memories, beliefs, aspirations and anxieties: the products of individual conscious awareness? Although superficially discernible through our words and actions, most of our minds’ contents remain unknowable to others.

In this remarkable book, Adrian Owen turns his attention to the invisible workings of the private universe that each of us inhabits. Through examinations of human brains damaged by trauma, tumours, infections and vascular accidents, he attempts to explore the nature of consciousness.

Owen’s professional life as a neuropsychologist converged unexpectedly with his personal life when the brain of his former partner was irreversibly injured by the spontaneous rupture of its blood vessels. She was left in a persistent vegetative state, a condition in which patients, though awake, lack awareness of themselves and

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