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Memory is divided into voluntary (conscious) and involuntary (unconscious) processes that function independently of each other. [1] Theories and research on memory dates back to Hermann Ebbinghaus , who began studying nonsense syllables. [1] Ebbinghaus classified three distinct classes of memory: sensory, short term, and long-term memory. [4] Sensory memory is made up of a brief storage of information within a specific medium (the line you see after waving a sparkler in your field of vision is created by sensory memory). [4] Short term memory is made up of the information currently in use to complete the task at hand. [4] Long term memory is composed of the systems used to store memory over long periods. It enables one to remember what happened two days ago at noon, or who called last night. [5]

A PVS victim “continues to display organized brain activity,” says Ronald Munson, a philosophy professor at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, and expert in medical ethics. He explains that PVS is different from other types of vegetative states because the patient is not brain -dead. “The brain stem continues to function and to provide all the automatic processes needed to sustain life. What [is] missing … are the higher functions of the brain, the ones we associate with thinking and feeling and being a person.” Within a few months, Tony’s family and primary physician, Dr. Jim Howe, had determined that there was no possibility of the young man recovering, and they made the difficult decision to end his treatment. Back then, however, Britain had no legal standard for how a patient like Tony should be treated.

Last year was not the first time he wished his enemies a happy new year. In 2013, he acknowledged his “many enemies” again and wished them “a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”

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