An 18-year-old girl suffered a severe head injury in a traffic accident. As a result, she was vegetative for about 21/2 years. She then showed signs of a gradually returning responsiveness. Six years after the accident, she is now able to comprehend and communicate, shows considerable interest in her surroundings and is able to establish interpersonal relationships. Moreover, the improvement is still continuing. Her severe contractures, however, prevent her from making full use of these regained mental capacities. Such a mental recovery after such a long-lasting vegetative state of traumatic origin has not previously been described.
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