New research has discovered that active neural pathways in the brain can be stimulated by holding a magnetic coil up to a patient's skull, which could help determine if a person is truly brain dead or just paralyzed.

This technique involves measuring how much of the brain responded to this electrical impulse based on a zero-to-one scale. A score higher than 0.44 indicates consciousness, while readings below 0.31 indicates an unconscious brain. This method would give doctors a reliable tool to determine what's going on in a paralyzed or unconscious patient's brain.

This is particularly good news for those suffering from locked-in syndrome, which is when a person with a fully functioning brain is trapped in a completely paralyzed body. It could also help revolutionize the ability to better treat things like stroke and traumatic brain injury.

Science via Wired