Great news. After robotic limbs that move and feel like real ones, immunotherapy that heals some cancers in days, or gene therapy that cures incurable genetic diseases, medicine keeps progressing at a stupendous rate.

BBC News: Vegetative-state patient responds to therapy

"A man in France has regained some degree of consciousness after being in a vegetative state for 15 years.

Doctors treated the 35-year-old, injured in a car accident, with an experimental therapy that involved implanting a nerve stimulator into his chest.

Within a month, he could respond to simple instructions, turning his head and following an object with his eyes.

...

The vagus nerve connects the brain to many parts of the body and helps controls automatic or subconscious functions, including alertness and wakefulness.

After one month of vagal nerve stimulation, the patient's mother reported an improved ability to stay awake when listening to his therapist reading a book.

And brain scans reflected this improvement, Current Biology journal reports."