Israeli Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon places his hand on the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, in the Old City of Jerusalem 07 February 2001. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
(TheBlaze/AP) -- A team of Israeli and U.S. scientists say new tests on comatose former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon show significant brain activity.
Ben-Gurion University on Sunday said that Sharon responded to external stimuli at Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.
He was shown pictures of his family and listened to recordings of his son's voice while undergoing a special brain imaging scan, they said. The university reported that "significant brain activity was observed ... indicating appropriate processing of these stimulations."
However, Sharon remains in a deep coma. It remains to be seen how scientists will utilize the information, or what it means for other coma victims.
Professor Martin Monti from the University of California, Los Angeles explained: "Information from the external world is being transferred to the appropriate parts of Mr. Sharon's brain...However, the evidence does not as clearly indicate whether Mr Sharon is consciously perceiving this information."
The 84-year-old former prime minister led Israel from 2001 until suffering a stroke in 2006. Since then, he has been in a vegetative state, connected to a respirator.
Sharon was a storied military officer who fought in three wars before entering politics. He unilaterally withdrew Israeli troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005.